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Stafford Schools finds lead in 6 area schools drinking water after conducting mandatory testing

An email went out today to the parents of children at 6 Stafford schools today stating that recent testing has found lead in the schools' water supply. The level of lead detected was higher than the 15 parts per billion limit recommended by the FDA. Affected schools include:

A.G. Wright Middle School

Garrisonville Elementary School

Edward E. Drew Middle School

Falmouth Elementary School

Grafton Village Elementary School

North Stafford High School.

The testing, which occurred during the week of August 14th, was required due to a new state law that requires testing of all schools drinking water. According to the law, which went into effect on July 1st, all schools are required to have their water tested. However, the law emphasizes that the first priority for school systems should be on schools built before 1986 and thus far only these schools have been tested in Stafford County. While it is unclear exactly what the next steps are, SCPS has taken the precaution of suspending the drinking water supply to the affected schools.

This information raises a lot of questions namely when will the rest of the schools be tested and how will this issue be corrected, for starters. One wonders why a law needed to be passed in order for the county to test the schools drinking supply, it is something I would have assumed was already being done. Silly me to assume.

Find the full email from SCPS below:

August 29, 2017

Dear Parents and Guardians:

This letter is to inform you that Stafford County Public Schools conducted water sampling between August 14 and 18, 2017 on all schools that were built before 1986, which includes 12 schools. Our remaining schools and facilities water sampling will take place over the next six months. Staff received reports that six schools showed elevated levels of lead above the Environmental Protection Agency threshold of 15 parts per million (PPM). The six schools include: A.G. Wright Middle School, Garrisonville Elementary School, Edward E. Drew Middle School, Falmouth Elementary School, Grafton Village Elementary School and North Stafford High School. Staff is consulting with our industrial hygiene consultant and analyzing the test results to determine additional follow-on testing and mitigation protocols.

In light of the test results, staff has suspended the use of drinking from the water fountains/taps that exceed action levels in those six schools. Please be assured that all students and staff are safe. SCPS water sampling, and any related repairs, are part of a larger program now underway statewide to reduce any health risks associated with the presence of lead in drinking water.

It is important to note that findings are isolated. Test results in other parts of the building are well below our action levels. These tests will allow us to ensure ongoing confidence in the safety of the water.

SCPS is sampling water from schools throughout the division under requirements of a new Virginia law that took effect July 1, 2017. The measure adds protection above previous rules that relied primarily on the municipal water suppliers to ensure the purity of drinking water. Please be assured that SCPS is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all students.