Washington state law (RCW 28A.210.410 and 43.70.830) now requires that drinking water be tested for lead in all K-12 public schools -more information is available HERE. Earlier this summer, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) collected samples of drinking water from each of our schools. Test results from those samples were reported to us on August 10, 2022.
What We’ve Learned
On June 4, 2022, DOH staff sampled water from 92 fixtures throughout the district. This number of fixtures represents every fixture that provides drinking water to students or is used to prepare food*. Results show 11 water samples (5 at Home Link-Clayton and 6 at Deer Park HS) that had lead levels above 5 parts per billion (ppb).
What We’re Doing
- Immediately after being notified of the results, facilities & maintenance staff took each of these 11 fixtures out of service.
- Our plan is to replace every fixture that tests above 5 parts-per-billion for lead (it’s important to note that Washington’s standard only requires replacement if results are at 15 ppb or higher).
- New, Certified Lead-Free fixtures have been ordered and will be installed as soon as they are available.
We will continue to work closely with the DOH, and resample and test water from each of these fixtures once they have been replaced. Deer Park School District is committed to taking every step possible to ensure drinking water in our schools is safe.
Why Lead is a Concern
We are exposed to lead from a variety of sources. Exposure sources include – dust from old, deteriorating lead paint, contaminated soil, take-home exposures from parents who work in certain industries, and many other sources. Each of these contributes to the amount of lead in our bodies.
It’s important to reduce exposure from every source as much as possible. Children six years old and younger are the most susceptible to the effects of lead. Their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
If you are concerned that your child has been exposed to lead for any reason, ask your healthcare provider about having them screened for lead.
For more information about water quality in our schools, please contact us at 509-464-5545. Public comment on this issue and the district’s proposed action plan can be shared with Deer Park’s Board of Directors at their meeting on Sept. 26. Related documents, including the District’s draft plan being presented to the Board of Directors, are available using the links below:
- DPSD Board Policy 6800 – Safety, Operations and Maintenance of School Property
- Washington State RCW 28A.210.410
- Drinking Water Safety Management Plan
- DPSD Water Safety Action Plan
* This number excludes fixtures that were tested prior to 2022 and were found to have lead levels below the action threshold or have already been replaced and retested.