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District » Water Quality in our Schools

Water Quality in our Schools

Dear Pullman Public Schools Community:

 

In 2017, the Legislature directed the Washington State Department of Health to test for lead in drinking water in public schools in an effort to reduce children’s overall exposure to lead in the environment. As part of our commitment to ensuring the health of our students and staff is protected, we recently participated in this program.

 

What did we learn?

Between October 10-18, water samples were taken from every fixture that provides drinking water to students or staff, or is used to prepare food, in all five schools. The testing was done prior to the school day before students were in the building.

 

  • On October 10, 2018 water samples were collected from forty-seven fixtures at Franklin Elementary. Results show that zero fixtures at Franklin had lead levels above the EPA’s action level for lead, which is 20 parts per billion (ppb).
  • On October 11, 2018 water samples were collected from fifty-six fixtures at Jefferson Elementary. Results show that zero fixtures at Jefferson had lead levels above the EPA’s action level for lead, which is 20 parts per billion (ppb).
  • On October 17, 2018 water samples were collected from twenty-five fixtures at Lincoln Middle School. Results show that zero fixtures at Lincoln had lead levels above the EPA’s action level for lead, which is 20 parts per billion (ppb).
  • On October 18, 2018 water samples were collected from thirty-three fixtures at Pullman High School. Results show that one fixture at PHS had lead levels above the EPA’s action level for lead, which is 20 parts per billion (ppb).
  • On October 16, 2018 water samples were collected from forty-six fixtures at Sunnyside Elementary. Results show that two fixtures at Sunnyside had lead levels above the EPA’s action level for lead, which is 20 parts per billion (ppb).

 

Where are these fixtures located?

It should be noted that these are isolated fixtures, we are pleased that none of our schools has widespread elevated lead levels. This means that any occurrence of lead is due to the fixture, not the pipes in the school. In an effort to be cautious, we will be replacing any fixture with a ppb over ten, which includes all fixtures listed below.

 

The specific fixture locations:

  • Franklin Elementary: no fixtures
  • Jefferson Elementary: no fixtures
  • Lincoln Middle School: Ms. Adderson’s classroom, Ms. Hoyle’s classroom, Ms. Schultheis’ classroom
  • Pullman High School: Weight room bottle filler
  • Sunnyside Elementary: Ms. Hood’s classroom, Ms. Singh’s classroom, Ms. Field’s classroom, Ms. Opgenorth’s classroom, Ms. Blehm’s classroom, Ms. Koerner’s classroom, Ms. McKeirnan’s classroom, music classroom

 

 

What are we doing?

  • We received the test results the afternoon of October 29th and before the start of school on October 30th, each of the fixtures with an elevated level will be taken out of service (turned off completely so that it is not usable).
  • Bottled water will be provided to staff and students in the impacted areas.
  • We will be working quickly to fully replace and retest each fixture that had an elevated level prior to turning the water back on in that location.

 

Why is lead a problem?

Children are exposed to lead from a variety of sources in their environments. Exposure sources include dust from old, deteriorating lead paint, contaminated soil, take-home exposures from parents who work in certain industries, and many others. Each of these sources contribute to the amount of lead in the bodies of children.

 

It is important to reduce exposure from every source as much as possible. Children six years old and younger are the most susceptible to the effects of lead. Their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Even at very low levels of exposure to lead, children may experience effects including lower IQ levels, reduced attention span, hyperactivity, poor classroom performance, or other harmful physical and behavioral effects.

 

How can I learn more?

The full results of our water testing can be found on our website at www.pullmanschools.org, under District/Water Quality in our Schools. For more information about testing, please visit the Department of Health’s website at: https://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/DrinkingWater/Contaminants/Lead/LeadinSchools/Results.

 

 

Sincerely,

Bob Maxwell
Superintendent