District develops communications plan for water quality test results
District develops communications plan for water quality test results
Posted on 06/30/2016
As a result of the Capital Projects Levy approved by voters in 2014 and the School Construction Bond approved by voters in 2015, Puyallup School District maintenance department has been repairing and updating schools throughout the district. Of particular focus has been aging buildings not slated for rebuilding or remodeling.
 
In light of recent public concerns about lead in drinking water across the state and nation, the Puyallup School District has contracted with outside specialists to retest the water in schools during May and June of 2016. Testing of the entire school district will take approximately five weeks.
 
The district has contracted with Bob Simons of Environmental Specialties to retest the water in Puyallup schools.
 
The district works with eight water purveyors who regularly test for water quality according to the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Health (DOH). However, there are no standards provided for public schools.  Instead, the EPA and DOH have provided guidelines for the testing of drinking water in schools. 
 
These guidelines recommend if lead levels are maintained at less than 20 parts per billion water is safe to drink. If the lead levels are greater than 15 parts per billion, the EPA recommends monitoring of levels and efforts to reduce levels to less than 15 parts per billion, even though no health hazard exists.
 
To be consistent with water quality testing done previously, Puyallup School District has chosen to also measure the level of copper in drinking water.
According to EPA guidelines, schools with copper levels greater than 1.3 parts per million should be monitored and efforts to reduce levels to less than 1.3 parts per million should be made even though no health hazard exists.
 
We have established a routine flushing program for the remainder of the 2015-16 school year and are flushing faucets of concern for a minimum of one minute each day. The Health Department recommends the public flush all faucets or drinking fountains for 10 seconds prior to drinking.  We ask for your help in educating staff and students in this practice.
 
To learn more about water quality, visit the Tacoma – Pierce County Health Department website.
 
In coming weeks, building principals will be made aware of the water quality test results for their building. If required, any action taken will be outlined with the principal for further communication with staff and parents. In addition, results will be posted on each school’s website and an email will be sent to each parent.