Bourne Taking Action to Improve School Water
by Brian Merchant, originally posted on January 9, 2017
BOURNE – The town of Bourne is taking actions to improve water quality after several schools tested positive for elevated lead and copper levels in the fall.
The schools were tested in October by the Department of Environmental Protection and were funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. The testing was part of a statewide effort in response to the water contamination issues in Flint, Michigan.
Faucets in the first grade hallway at Peebles Elementary School have been replaced, copper piping was removed and filtration systems were installed at some of the water fountains in the middle school and regular flushing is being conducted at the high school and Bournedale Elementary School, according to Superintendent Steven LaMarche.
“We are going to continue to move forward on these but we are going to continue to test some of the areas that came back above the Massachusetts Action Level and make sure that we report out to the community what actions we have taken,” LaMarche said.
Handwashing only signs remain on faucets and water fountains which have not been retested for elevated levels of lead and copper.
“It’s a huge priority for us to make sure our students are only handwashing in sinks that did come back above the action level before flush or after flush,” LaMarche said. “We are going to continue to incorporate those types of practices within our schools.”
LaMarche said there should not be any long-term effects from the elevated levels.
Other school districts across Cape Cod are participating in school water testing for lead and copper and include Barnstable, Bourne, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional, Sandwich, Provincetown, Truro Central School and Surgis Charter Public School. The Martha’s Vineyard school district is also testing water.
LaMarche said cost effective solutions are being discussed at Peebles Elementary School as it is being replaced.
“We’re going to be replacing that school within the next two years,” he said. “But we want to make sure that our children are safe and that they have opportunities to use water that’s not above the Massachusetts Action Level for lead or copper.”
The new Peebles School was passed by voters at town election last month.
The new facility, which will cost taxpayers just under $40 million, will replace the current school that was built in 1953.