OPRF isn't taking chances with lead results

Fifteen water sources shut off after testing high in concentrations

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 officials are currently replacing fixtures and supply lines and shutting-off valves after 15 fountains and sinks at the high school tested for excessive amounts of lead last month. 

According to a new state law, school buildings constructed before 2000 that are occupied by pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students are required to undergo lead testing and provide the test results to parents. OPRF has a daycare onsite. 

According to a letter sent out to parents on Jan. 23 by Greg Johnson, D200 assistant superintendent, the district's environmental consultant "collected and tested water samples from 148 water sources at the high school on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4." Fifteen of those sources "contained lead exceeding 5.0 [parts per billion] on the first draw.

"While samples on a second draw of water from the same sources showed that lead levels did drop, in some cases to non-detectable levels, the district is taking action based on the results of the first draw." 

According to Johnson, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires action to be taken whenever lead concentrations exceed 15.0 ppb. OPRF is "following the more stringent guideline from the Illinois Department of Public Health and taking action on any results showing lead levels of 5.0 ppb or higher." 

In light of the testing, district officials "shut off the affected water sources" and are in the process of replacing them. After the work is done, the consultant will retest the sources that did not pass the lead test on the first draw of water. 

The district has directed anyone with questions and concerns to call the Department of Buildings and Grounds at 708-434-3698.

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com  

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