Dangerous levels of Lead Found in Water at Benton Elementary School
by Alexander Downing, originally posted on October 21, 2016
High levels of lead have been discovered in the water at Benton Elementary School, according to the Kennebec Water District.
The Water District said three samples from the school showed lead levels at 670 parts per billion, 57 parts per billion and 78 parts per billion.
Officials said the minimum level to take action is 15 parts per billion.
Superintendent Dean Baker said the kitchen staff is not cooking with tap water.
“Today’s priorities, of course, are to identify the source of the contamination and isolate it, and eliminate it. After that, we’ll have a follow-up program to monitor the levels so we ensure that it is entirely safe,” Baker said.
Baker said the pipes leading to the school are copper, and not lead, leading officials to believe the lead might be coming from old fixtures.
“We have no way of knowing how long the contamination has been here. We’re rather interested, now that we’ve found it, what are we going to do about it. We’re going to start the process immediately; some of the fixtures have already been replaced, some are on order,” Baker said.
Poland Spring has donated bottled water to the school.
“We want parents to know that we’re taking steps to replace any indicated source of contamination and we’ll keep testing until we’re sure that it’s all gone and all corrected. In the meantime, students will not be using any water that could be contaminated,” Baker said.
The Water District will conduct a second round to tests on Friday.
Tests are also being done on the water at the middle and high school.