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Boise's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Boise, Idaho | KTVB.com

Boise School District finds elevated lead levels in majority of schools tested

The school district is in the process of replacing some fixtures and fountains in the 23 schools with lead levels over the EPA threshold.

BOISE — The Boise School District has found elevated levels of lead in water at most of their older schools.

Officials completed testing at all 27 schools built before 1986, which is when Congress restricted lead in plumbing materials.

Those schools include: Adams, Boise, Borah, Capital, Collister, Fairmont, Fort Boise, Garfield, Hawthorne, Highlands, Hillcrest, Hillside, Jefferson, Koelsch, Liberty, Longfellow, Madison, Maple Grove, Monroe, Mountain View, North, Owyhee, Pierce Park, Taft, Valley View, Washington, and Whittier.

Twenty-three of those 27 schools currently have lead levels above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) threshold. Water in drinking fountains, faucets and fixtures in the vast majority of older schools built before 1986 in the state's second-oldest school district contain levels of lead above the EPA 0.015 mg/L limit.

(CORRECTION: KTVB previously reported 22 of the 27 schools had lead, but we did not include the original school that sparked the testing: Fairmont Junior High School. We have now added Fairmont, bringing the number to 23 schools.)

In those schools, the district is in the process of replacing fixtures and fountains that have elevated lead levels.

“Anything above that threshold we take seriously,” Boise School District spokesman Dan Hollar said.

The latest tests from October and November show many schools have anywhere from two to 50 times the 0.015 mg/L threshold, and four schools had levels 100 times the threshold.

"Depends on the building, age of the materials being used at the time it was built,” Hollar said.

The district has shut water off and is in the process of replacing the fixtures and fountains with high lead levels. Data shows anywhere from one fixture to half a school's tested fixtures and fountains contained elevated lead levels.

“In fact, we went above and beyond that and a lot of our schools ordered our custodians where there were elevated levels to flush first thing in morning before students and staff arrive and also later in afternoon,” Hollar said.

But the district says the investigation isn't complete and if they find changing those fixtures out isn't the solution, they would consider adding filters to water lines, putting filters on the fixtures, or even replacing the main water line – which they are contemplating at Fairmont Junior High School, where test results were the catalyst for these recent tests at the 27 schools.

“There’s a cost factor for it as well, so we are looking into a grant to be able to pay for this," Hollar said. "This is not just an incident isolated to one particular school district. This can actually be seen as a nation-wide issue as well."

Public health workers say any lead in drinking water is concerning.

“The goal is to have zero lead exposure,” said Central District Health Department epidemiologist Sarah Correll.

According to Correll, after water runs for about 20 seconds, lead levels typically go back to zero.

"When water sits in contact with lead some of the lead can go into the water overnight, but it takes hours," she said. "So that first sample that comes out in the morning is kind of that old water that just sat in that fountain next to the lead.

"It’s important for parents to know that we do not have lead in our main water system,” she added.

If you have a child in a Boise school you're likely asking, what does this mean for them?

“In general, we're not going to see children with elevated lead levels due to lead in water fountains you're seeing,” Correll told KTVB.

Central District Health says kids don't need to be tested but if you are concerned, call them at 208-327-8625 or contact your health care provider.

“Boise School District has been very transparent and it’s good for parents to know and be aware that lead can be in fixtures," Correll said. "So it’s a good reminder for all of us, especially with kids under six years old, to let water run a little bit."

You can read the school district's school-by-school test results on their Lead Information Center page. When viewing the results, look at the "Analysis Results" column. Again, the EPA threshold is 0.015 mg/L.

If you have questions about your particular school, contact your school's principal.

KTVB dug into the data and created this breakdown of which fixtures in the schools have elevated lead levels:

Adams (0 of 26):

Nothing over .015

Boise (0 of 41):

Nothing over .015

Borah test 1 of 2 (2 of 10):

.031 Baseball coach office sink (page 7)

.022 Old Fountain in math wing by 416 (page 8)

Borah test 2 of 2 - 11/23/18 (15 of 84):

.038 Rm 309 NW sink (page 19)

.20 Rm 309 Middle sink (page 20)

.027 IA Outside Spigot (page 22)

.051 Rm 311 NE sink (page 24)

.020 Rm 309 W sink (page 25)

.015 Rm 309 SE sink (page 26)

.015 Rm 309 Center Mid (page 30)

.022 Rm 311 SE sink (page 31)

.037 Rm 311 Center W Mid (page 47)

.28 Rm 311 Center E Mid (page 48)

.015 Rm 306 E sink (page 64)

.064 Rm 306 S Sink (page 68)

1.8 Rm 302 E sink (page 75)

.025 Rm 116 S sink (page 78)

.022 Rm 115 N sink (page 81)

Capital (44 of 135):

.12 Rm 113 NW sink (page 7)

.098 Rm 119 sink (page 15)

.023 Rm 121/123 sink (page 24)

5.2 Boiler Rm in bckflw (page 48)

.054 Fac Lnge 1Flr sink (page 54)

.020 Kitchen Pot Filler L (page 59)

.035 A-hall DF (page 65)

.016 A-Hall Boys Lav R (page 67)

.028 A-Hall Rm 129 DF Chr (page 71)

.031 Rm 223 H (page 73)

.022 Rm 223A (page 74)

.047 Rm 223B (page 75)

.019 Rm 223D (page 78)

.29 Rm 223E (page 79)

.017 Rm 223F (page 80)

.034 Rm 223G (page 81)

.093 Rm 213A Faucet (page 82)

.049 Rm 212A Faucet (page 83)

.053 Rm 225A (page 84)

.027 Rm 225B (page 85)

.030 Rm 225C (page 86)

.45 Rm 225F (page 89)

.029 Rm 225G (page 90)

.044 Rm 225H (page 91)

.033 Rm 350B Faucet (page 95)

.016 Rm 228 Eyewash (page 96)

.016 Rm 228A (page 97)

.015 Rm 228 B (page 98)

.024 Rm 228C (page 99)

.018 RM 228D (page 100)

.016 Rm 228E (page 101)

.033 Rm 227A (page 102)

.052 Rm 227B (page 103)

.030 Rm 222 Faucet (page 105)

.021 Rm 226 Faucet (page 106)

.033 Rm 206A (page 113)

.030 Rm 206E (page 117)

.022 Rm 223A Faucet (page 118)

.059 Rm 136 Faucet B (page 123)

.016 Boys Lav B (page 125)

.021 Custodian Office (page 128)

.019 Boys Lav A (page 130)

.025 South DF (page 134)

.040 Girls Dressing Rm A (page 135)

Collister (4 of 32):

.031 Copy Rm sink (page 25)

.015 Copy Rm Lav (page 26)

.036 Girls Lav B (page 30)

.039 Boys Lav A (page 31)

Fairmont test 1 of 5 - 9/20/18 (7 of 20):

.023 Custodian office (page 5)

.019 Office Fountain (page 6)

.015 Photo Classroom sink (page 14)

.031 Classroom 35 (page 15)

.016 CS Hand sink (page 18)

.021 CS sink 1 (page 19)

.063 CS sink 2 (page 20)

Fairmont test 2 of 5 - 10/17/18 (20 of 59):

.018 Kitchen Prep sink C (page 4)

.035 Room 36 sink A (page 10)

.051 Room 36 sink B (page 11)

.034 Room 35 sink A (page 12)

.131 Room 35 sink B (page 13)

.189 Library sink (page 15)

.111 Room 33 sink (page 17)

.020 Main gym drinking fountain west (page 18)

.021 Copy room sink (page 22)

.015 Nurse sink (page 23)

.017 Room 31 handwash sink (page 29)

.100 Girls restroom A (not in use) (page 35)

.019 Girls restroom B (page 36)

.149 AV room sink (page 41)

.031 Art room kiln area (page 51)

.084 Room 2 sink (page 53)

.015 Room 1 sink B (page 56)

.021 Room 1 sink C (page 57)

.015 Room 1 sink D (page 58)

.015 Custodian office sink (page 59)

Fairmont test 3 of 5 - 10/24/18 (2 of 16):

.016 Girls locker room drinking fountain (page 10)

.111 Exterior water faucet (page 20)

Fairmont test 4 of 5 - 10/25/18 (2 of 5):

.084 Meter 1st (page 3)

.046 Meter 2nd (page 4)

Fairmont test 5 of 5 - 11/23/18 (0 of 2):

nothing over .015

Fort Boise (12 of 29):

.020 Rm 16 (page 9)

.022 Rm 14 (page 10)

.041 Girls RR (page 15)

.050 Entryway DF (page 17)

.076 Dental Lab (page 18)

.049 Gym Office east side (page 21)

.082 Gym Office (page 22)

.022 Kitchen bathroom (page 24)

.079 Kitchen storage (page 25)

.061 Rm 4 (page 26)

.034 Rm 2 (page 27)

.016 Rm 1 (page 29)

Garfield (2 of 52):

.031 Rm 204 faucet (page 13)

.019 Rm 218 faucet (page 43)

Hawthorne (2 of 43):

.020 Supply rm sink (page 31)

.034 Port 153 womens lav (page 43)

Highlands (10 of 31):

.019 Gym DF (page 4)

.032 Rm 10 bubbler (page 5)

.015 Rm 9 bubbler (page 6)

.016 Rm 11 bubbler (page 7)

.019 Rm 12 bubbler (page 8)

.019 Library sink (page 11)

.017 Hallway DF (page 13)

.027 Boys lave A (page 14)

.015 Rm 4 bubbler (page 26)

.016 Portable 21 bubbler (page 31)

Hillcrest (0 of 44):

Nothing over .015

Hillside (1 of 6):

1.9 Kitchen Custodial (page 6)

Jefferson (12 of 34):

.023 Rm 15 bubbler (page 2)

.031 Rm 19 bubbler (page 3)

.015 Rm 16 bubbler (page 5)

.019 Rm 18 bubbler (page 6)

.033 Rm 10 bubbler (page 11)

.021 Rm 11 bubbler (page 12)

.048 Rm 7 bubbler (page 14)

.069 Rm 8 bubbler (page 16)

.021 Womens lav B (page 23)

.017 Rm 2 bubbler (page 26)

.018 Rm 4 bubbler (page 28)

.021 Rm A bubbler (page 29)

Koelsch (4 of 39):

.13 Rm B4 bubbler (page 13)

.039 Rm C1 bubbler (page 14)

.017 Rm D4 bubbler (page 26)

.043 Kitchen RR sink (page 38)

Liberty (2 of 47):

.016 AV Rm sink (page 20)

.083 Copy Rm sink (page 26)

Longfellow (0 of 30):

Nothing over .015

Madison (2 of 15):

.116 drinking fountain (page 7)

.016 unisex restroom (page 15)

Maple Grove (10 of 46):

.021 Psych/ot bubbler (page 2)

.056 Nurses Lav sink (page 4)

.055 Media Rm Bubbler (page 8)

.11 Office lav (page 12)

.017 Principal's office (page 13)

.54 Girl's lav sink C (page 39)

.036 Rm 3 Bubbler (page 41)

.068 Rm 4 Bubbler (page 42)

.23 Rm 4 RR sink (page 43)

.017 Port 81 sink (page 45)

Monroe (6 of 23):

.018 Kit handwash sink (page 2)

.017 Mens lav (page 5)

.018 Women's lav (page 6)

.048 Gym DF (page 7)

.018 Rm 12 Bubbler (page 8)

.034 Hallway DF (page 23)

Mountain View (5 of 41):

.019 Nurse's RR sink (page 1)

.018 Girl's RR sink A (page 4)

.027 Rm 4 Bubbler (page 9)

.028 Rm 11 Bubbler (page 25)

.016 Port Annex 90 DF (page 39)

North (4 of 59):

.016 Nurse Office bubbler (page 28)

.015 Teach Lnge men lav (page 31)

.079 Rm 119 faucet (page 39)

.017 Rm 217A lav (page 41)

Owyhee (1 of 35)

.065 Pod Common Area sink

Pierce Park (2 of 38):

.022 Rm 9

.045 Rm 5

Taft (2 of 38):

.020 Library sink

.019 Portable 113 sink

Valley View (9 of 37):

.022 Rm G1 sink

.096 Work/supply Rm sink

.016 Pod 5C bubbler

.017 Nurse's Office sink

.018 KinderG bubbler

.79 Library sink

.27 Pod 1A sink

.016 Pod 1B bubbler

.026 Kitchen handwash

Washington (3 of 30):

.017 Rm 10 sink

.050 Rm 4 sink

.025 Rm 3 sink

Whittier (20 of 43):

.018 Kitchen lav

.067 Kitchen bowl sink

.020 Rm 1 sink faucet

.057 G RR lav B 1st floor

.020 Rm 4 faucet

.032 Rm 5 faucet

1.8 N hallway DF

.23 Hallway DF 2nd Fl

.086 Rm 13 bubbler

.019 Rm 10 bubbler

.023 Rm 9 bubbler

.076 Conf Rm lav

.065 Hallway DF

.034 Rm 7 bubbler

.039 Boy's lav B

.023 Portable 159 lav

.018 Portable 132 bubbler

.036 Portable 122 B lav

.022 Portable 132 G lav

.066 Portable 132 K sink