Hundreds of water fixtures in Ohio schools found with lead | The Tribune
Ohio school districts in the past year and a half have tested drinking fountains and faucets inside hundreds of older buildings, finding that about 10 percent of the fixtures had elevated levels of lead in the water, state records show.
About half of the kitchen and classroom faucets and drinking fountains have been replaced while the others have been simply shut off or are no longer used.
"You take for granted the safety of water when you walk up to a drinking fountain," said Dustin Boswell, the business manager for Springfield schools near Akron, which found more than two dozen classroom and custodian faucets over the limit.
Most of the Ohio school buildings tested did not have any fixtures with high lead levels.
Overall, most of the school buildings needed to replace just one, two or three fixtures.
Just nine of Ohio’s 20 largest school districts took the state up on its offer to test the fixtures in some of its buildings, according to data provided by the commission.
The state’s biggest — Columbus — tested the fixtures in only three of its buildings while Cincinnati and Toledo didn’t check fixtures in any of its schools that qualified for the grants, the state’s records showed.
I thought we were going to replace 200 water fountains," said Rob Boxler, director of facility services for Akron schools.
He said he was aware about the dangers of lead pipes but didn’t know problems also could be traced to drinking fountains and faucets until the grants became available.
Cleveland began making plans to test its buildings several months before the state announced it would reimburse public and private schools, said Patrick Zohn, the district’s chief operating officer.