Dear 4J families,
Eugene School District 4J is taking precautionary steps to ensure safe water supplies. The health and safety of students is a top priority. Based on issues that have arisen in other school districts and concerns expressed in our community, the district is testing for lead in drinking water in all schools and facilities and developing standard protocols to address any issues that are found.
WHAT’S BEEN DONE IN THE PAST
The district has spot tested water for lead in all schools and buildings in the past, including some sampling at every school in 1998. Past testing has not shown widespread issues. Water also is tested at the source. One 4J school, Twin Oaks, has its own well, and EWEB provides water to other schools. Water from both sources is tested regularly as required and found to be safe.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Since spring break, district staff have been doing spot testing of several locations where water samples were identified for concern and fixtures were replaced in 1998.
This preliminary spot sampling has found a few cases of slightly elevated lead levels in samples of water that had sat overnight or longer, in two drinking fountains at Sheldon High School and three little-used sinks located at Roosevelt Middle School, Kennedy Middle School and the district office.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT, RIGHT NOW
Out of an abundance of caution, in addition to fixing those specific fixtures, the district will:
• Provide bottled or filtered water to the four sites with identified issues.
• Flush out water sources at all schools in the district every morning before use, in accordance with EPA guidelines. The most likely suspected source of lead in district schools is fittings in older fixtures, manufactured before lead in plumbing fixtures was banned in 1986. Water that remains in pipes and fixtures overnight or for extended periods of time collects more of the materials surrounding it.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT, NEXT STEPS
This summer, the district will contract with an independent third party to undertake comprehensive, district-wide testing for lead.
All water faucets for drinking and food preparation will be tested, following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) testing guidelines. The district expects to receive the results of testing and address any issues that are found before school resumes in the fall.
If any elevated lead levels are found, the district will take steps to address the cause and provide a safe environment for students and staff. The district will:
• Immediately stop the water from being consumed and provide safe drinking water.
• Identify and eliminate the source of the lead.
• Retest the water to ensure it is safe for students and staff.
• Notify parents, students and staff of the results and actions taken.
WHERE TO LEARN MORE
Eugene School District 4J takes the health and safety of students and staff seriously. Lead in water is a concern because high lead levels can contribute to negative health effects, especially for pregnant women, infants, and young children under 6 years old. If you have any concerns about lead exposure, please contact your healthcare provider. For more information about lead, one good source is http://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-