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Thirty percent of Chicago schools tested have lead in the school drinking water...

In an ever worsening crises in the Chicago Public Schools, the nation's third largest public school district now says that 23 of the 78 schools tested - 30% -- had lead levels above Federal EPA standards. Posted below is raw data from the districts website. The schools facing these problems are in all parts of the city, from the far Northwest Side (Locke, Reilly) to the Southeast Side, almost adjacent to Indiana (Tanner and others). There is no claim that only certain parts of the city -- or certain "communities" -- are victimized by this problem.

A question that will be raised as the testing finally goes on across Chicago is why it has taken so long for these dangers to become public. A related question is why CPS is again using privatization and outsourcing -- as opposed to utilizing the skills of professional workers within the system -- to do the testing.

RESULTS BY SCHOOL (As of June 13, 2016, based on information provided by CPS officials)...

More detailed information available on cps.edu/.... Most recently discovered schools are indicated with asterisks***.

1. Beasley (1 drinking fountain, 2 sinks and 1 sink in kitchen that is not used)

2. Beidler (1 sink)

3. Blaine (1 drinking fountain and 1 sink)

4. Blair (1 drinking fountain and 3 sinks – the sink in Room 106 is a rarely used office sink).

5. Brentano (1 drinking fountain and 1 sink for handwashing in kitchen).

6. Budlong (1 sink).

7. ***Carver G (3 drinking fountains)

8. Chappell (1 kitchen sink)

9. ***Chase (2 sinks)

10. ***Disney (1 sink)

11. Durkin Park (1 sink)

12. Esmond (1 drinking fountain)

13. Fernwood (2 drinking fountains)

14. Gunsaulus (1 kitchen sink)

15. Harvard (1 drinking fountain)

16. LaSalle II (1 sink)

17. Locke J (1 sink)

18. ***Nightingale (1 drinking fountain)

19. Peirce (1 drinking fountain)

20. Perez (1 drinking fountain)

21. Reilly (4 drinking fountains and 4 sinks – the Department of Water Management conducted several plumbing modifications at Reilly, and the school was retested Tuesday morning. Results will be released as soon as they are available.)

22. Tanner (4 drinking fountains)

23. Wentworth (4 drinking fountains)

Results As Of June 13

· CPS is regularly updating its hub for information on testing water for lead (www.cps.edu/...).

o As of June 13, the District had test results for 1,122 fixtures (sinks and drinking fountains) in 78 schools. Of these results, 48 fixtures, or 4.3 percent of the total, have at least one sample with a lead level above the U.S. EPA’s action level.

§ This includes 26 drinking fountains and 22 sinks, four of which were in kitchens.

o As of June 13, the District had collected 20,784 samples of potable water sources and sent them in to two independent, EPA-certified labs for testing.

o 4,750 samples have been returned from the labs, with 103 results showing actionable levels of lead, or 2.2 percent of the samples.

o 224 of the 324 schools built before 1986 with pre-K programs have been tested and the results at 78 schools have been returned.

o Of the 78 schools with returned results, 23 had results above the EPA’s action level. Families at these schools have been notified, and in most cases each school had one or two fixtures that showed results above the action level.

o Generally, it seems that many of these fixtures with readings above action level may not be in frequent use. One sign of a fixture that is rarely used is an initial high reading, followed by subsequently lower readings as the water continues to run. This could also indicate issues with the fixture itself.

o Any impacted fixtures were turned off, and the district is developing plans to resolve issues concerning each of the fixtures.

Background – Latest Results As Of June 12

CPS is regularly updating its hub for information on testing water for lead (www.cps.edu/...).

As of June 12, the District had test results for 1,007 fixtures (sinks and drinking fountains) in 74 schools. Of these results, 41 fixtures, or 4.1 percent of the total, have at least one sample with a lead level above the U.S. EPA’s action level.

This includes 22 drinking fountains and 19 sinks, four of which were in kitchens.

As of June 12, the District had collected 20,784 samples of potable water sources and sent them in to two independent, EPA-certified labs for testing.

4,175 samples have been returned from the labs, with 93 results showing actionable levels of lead, or 2.2 percent of the samples.

224 of the 324 schools built before 1986 with pre-K programs have been tested and the results at 74 schools have been returned.

Of the 74 schools with returned results, 19 had results above the EPA’s action level. Families at these schools have been notified, and in most cases each school had one or two fixtures that showed results above the action level. Generally, it seems that many of these fixtures with readings above action level may not be in frequent use. One sign of a fixture that is rarely used is an initial high reading, followed by subsequently lower readings as the water continues to run. This could also indicate issues with the fixture itself.

Any impacted fixtures were turned off, and the district is developing plans to resolve issues concerning each of the fixtures.

Background – Overview of Testing Program

· Out of an abundance of caution, CPS began a pilot program this spring to test schools’ water for lead.

· Any potable water sources – drinking fountains, kitchen sinks and sinks used for drinking – that are found to have levels that exceeded the EPA’s action level are immediately turned off.

· Communication to families is made as soon as possible, via robocalls and/or letters home. Letters include information about nearby medical resources where students can be tested. Working with the Chicago Department of Public Health, the District will also work to connect families to primary care physicians and additional health insurance resources.

· CPS is finalizing regional information meetings so parents and families can learn more from CPS and sister agencies about lead exposure, steps the District is taking and important health information. · All CPS schools will be tested for lead in the water. The first group of schools that will be tested include schools with the youngest children and oldest buildings. All 324 schools with a pre-K program that were built before 1986 will be tested before the end of the school year.

· Buildings should be tested under normal operating conditions in order to get an accurate reading of water and fixture conditions. Testing cannot be conducted when a building isn’t fully in use, so testing on the remaining schools will resume in the fall.

· Charter schools that are located in CPS buildings will be tested by CPS. Charter schools with their own buildings will be able to piggyback on CPS’ contracts and pay for their own testing at the same rate as the District.

· Additional information will continue to be posted on www.cps.edu/.... RESULTS BY SCHOOL (As of June 12, 2016)

More detailed information available on cps.edu/.... New schools are indicated with asterisks***.

1. Beasley (1 drinking fountain, 2 sinks and 1 sink in kitchen that is not used)

2. Beidler (1 sink)

3. Blaine (1 drinking fountain and 1 sink)

4. ***Blair (1 drinking fountain and 3 sinks – the sink in Room 106 is a rarely used office sink)

5. Brentano (1 drinking fountain and 1 sink for handwashing in kitchen)

6. Budlong (1 sink)

7. ***Chappell (1 kitchen sink)

8. ***Durkin Park (1 sink)

9. Esmond (1 drinking fountain)

10. Fernwood (2 drinking fountains)

11. ***Gunsaulus (1 kitchen sink)

12. Harvard (1 drinking fountain)

13. LaSalle II (1 sink)

14. Locke J (1 sink)

15. Peirce (1 drinking fountain)

16. Perez (1 drinking fountain)

17. Reilly (4 drinking fountains and 4 sinks – Reilly is being retested again this week)

18. Tanner (4 drinking fountains)

19. ***Wentworth (4 drinking fountains) Latest Results As Of June 8

· CPS is regularly updating its hub for information on testing water for lead (www.cps.edu/...).

o As of June 8, the District had collected 16,702 samples of potable water sources and sent them in for testing.

o 3,348 samples have been returned, with 2.4 percent of the samples (80) showing actionable levels of lead. Each fixture is sampled multiple times.

o Of the fixtures for which results are available, 31 had results above the EPA’s action level.

o 169 of the 324 schools built before 1986 with pre-K programs have been tested and the results at 65 schools have been returned.

o Of the 65 schools with returned results, 14 had results above the EPA’s action level. Families at these schools have been notified, and in most cases each school had one or two fixtures that showed results above the action level. These fixtures were turned off.

Background – Overview of Testing Program

· Out of an abundance of caution, CPS began a pilot program this spring to test schools’ water for lead. Of the 32 schools that participated in the pilot, 31 had levels below the EPA’s guidelines. 25 had no detectable levels of lead, while six were below the U.S. EPA standard of 15 parts per billion. One school had three water fountains with levels that exceeded the EPA’s action level.

· Any potable water sources – drinking fountains, kitchen sinks and sinks used for drinking – that are found to have levels that exceeded the EPA’s action level are immediately turned off.

· Communication to families is made as soon as possible, via robocalls and/or letters home. Letters include information about nearby medical resources where students can be tested.

· CPS will set up regional information meetings so parents and families can learn more from CPS and sister agencies about lead in the water, steps the District is taking and important health information. · Additional information will continue to be posted on www.cps.edu/.... RESULTS BY SCHOOL (As of June 8, 2016)

More detailed information available on cps.edu/.... New schools are indicated with asterisks***.

· ***Beasley (1 drinking fountain, 2 sinks and 1 sink in kitchen that is not used)

· Beidler (1 sink)

· ***Blaine (1 drinking fountain and 1 sink)

· Brentano (1 drinking fountain and 1 sink for handwashing in kitchen)

· Budlong (1 sink)

· Esmond (1 drinking fountain)

· Fernwood (2 drinking fountains)

· Harvard (1 drinking fountain)

· LaSalle II (1 sink)

· Locke J (1 sink)

· Peirce (1 drinking fountain)

· Perez (1 drinking fountain)

· Reilly (being retested)

· Tanner (4 drinking fountains)

Latest Results As Of June 7

· CPS is regularly updating its hub for information on testing water for lead (www.cps.edu/...).

o As of June 7, the District had collected 15,853 samples of potable water sources and sent them in for testing.

o 3,044 samples have been returned, with 70 results showing actionable levels of lead, or 2.3 percent of the samples.

o Of the 609 fixtures for which results are available, 28 had results above the action level. It includes one kitchen sink, 23 drinking fountains and four other sinks. o 156 of the 324 schools built before 1986 with pre-K programs have been tested and the results at 58 schools have been returned.

o Of the 58 schools with returned results, 12 had results above the EPA’s action level. Families at these schools have been notified, and in most cases each school had one or two fixtures that showed results above the action level. These fixtures were turned off.

· These numbers include results from Reilly Elementary School, which were received on June 7. Reilly is being re-tested, and results are being expedited. The Reilly findings are being confirmed before being posted because of possible extenuating circumstances that could have compromised the testing accuracy. Out of an abundance of caution, potable water fixtures have been taken off line until the test results come back.

o Among other potential issues, CPS believes that Reilly’s water might have been off in the days before the initial samples were taken, which could have a significant impact on results.

· Below, you will find the robocall that was shared with Reilly families Tuesday evening.

Overview of Testing Program

· Out of an abundance of caution, CPS began a pilot program this spring to test schools’ water for lead. Of the 32 schools that participated in the pilot, 31 had levels below the EPA’s guidelines. 25 had no detectable levels of lead, while six were below the U.S. EPA standard of 15 parts per billion. One school had three water fountains with levels that exceeded the EPA’s action level.

· Any potable water sources – drinking fountains, kitchen sinks and sinks used for drinking – that are found to have levels that exceeded the EPA’s action level are immediately turned off.

· Communication to families is made as soon as possible, via robocalls and/or letters home. Letters include information about nearby medical resources where students can be tested.

· CPS will set up regional information meetings so parents and families can learn more from CPS and sister agencies about lead in the water, steps the District is taking and important health information. · Additional information will continue to be posted on www.cps.edu/....



Comments:

June 16, 2016 at 4:19 AM

By: JoAnne Cairo

Lead in high school drinking water?

North Grand High School uses portable sinks in the Special Ed. severe profound classrooms. Will CPS be checking this type of sink? No... students don't drink from them, but the water is used for other things. Will these sinks be monitored? Also, will any high schools be checked for lead? Reading the reports, it sounds like lead is only a danger in the elementary schools, especially those that have pre-kindergarten programs...

June 18, 2016 at 2:27 PM

By: Susan Zupan

And closed schools?

Will there be any testing done in the multitude of schools closed by CPS, especially now considering that many were closed related to "under-performance"?

June 19, 2016 at 2:43 PM

By: David Vance

source of high lead levels in school fountains

I have a third question. The article lists the 23 schools and the number of drinking fountains that have high lead levels. But we all know most of the drinking fountains are now made with stainless steel and have "newer" pipes connecting to the main water. I also think that many of the newer connections are made with copper tubing. So, my reasoning tells me it is not the individual stainless steel drinking fountains but the main water line to the building. Water lines in the basement of these old schools are made with lead pipes. So my reasoning tells me that every water fountain (and faucet) in the entire school building is emitting small amounts of lead all the time, not just the one or two that CPS claims has high levels of lead.

In conclusion: CPS lists the drinking fountains as the source of lead, but the real source is the lead pipes in the basement.

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