Back in November, Castleton Elementary School Principal Kathleen Kilbourne sent home a letter announcing that the school had volunteered to participate in a pilot program testing for lead in drinking water. The program, which targeted at least 16 schools in Vermont, was run jointly by the Vermont Department of Health, its Agency of Natural Resources and its Agency of Education.
Those tests are back and for parents of Castleton’s youngsters, the news is not happy. Vermont Department of Health announced Tuesday that the school’s drinking water is, in fact, contaminated with lead. The level varied from pull to pull but “first draw” samples taken from 9 locations in the school exceeded the current EPA action level of 15 parts per million, or ppm. In at least one sample, the level was 43 ppm.
In a letter to area doctors, Health Commissioner Mark Levine explains that a “high percentage”, as he puts it, of the community’s babies and toddlers suffer from elevated blood lead levels. (Medically, there is no “safe” level for lead in kids’ blood.)
As expected, flushing the school’s water lines for a couple of minutes brought the water’s level back down to the “low” level of 2 ppm.
The school does not yet appear to have made a public comment on the findings.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
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