Last year, the Maine Legislature enacted a new law requiring all Maine public schools to conduct testing of water throughout their facilities as a way to ensure that the lead content in drinking water is below unhealthy thresholds.
The Yarmouth School Department was a leader in this area, conducting voluntary water sampling in the fall of 2016. At that time, we completed replacement of fixtures throughout the district in order to meet the 15 parts per billion (ppb) threshold identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the actionable level for lead in drinking water. Maine’s new law requires schools to take action at a much lower threshold of 4 ppb, which has resulted in additional mitigation at each of our schools.
Yesterday, we received a second round of results of testing at William Rowe School, Harrison Middle School, and Yarmouth High School. In each school, fixtures were identified where sampling produced lead content above the 4 ppb threshold, and we are taking continued action to ensure students and staff will not be drinking from those faucets until testing assures us of their safety. In areas where it is necessary, we will provide water coolers and bottled water while we await the replacement fixtures.
Earlier testing at Yarmouth Elementary School provided very positive results, but we will keep you apprised if any follow-up testing is required at that school.
For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/lead, or contact the Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (866-292-3474) or your health care provider. Your doctor can answer questions about having your child tested for lead.