By Piper Stephens
The Charter News
Water. We all drink it. Alliance Charter Academy’s water was deemed safe, but what happens when drinking water in schools is labeled unsafe? With old fixtures and pipes, water could contain a dangerous amount of lead. Lead in the body can damage the nervous system and cause developmental disorders, as well as other serious problems. Because of this, the Oregon City School District (OCSD) began to take action.
Starting in June 2016, the OCSD began conducting water tests due to rising concerns about lead in schools. Since lead can seriously affect both adults and children when consumed, all schools were tested for excessive lead and copper.
According to the Oregon City School District website, “Pixis Labs has tested water samples from all school facilities during June and July of 2016.”
Pixis Labs is a professional water testing company who tested all water samples collected from the schools. They conducted a primary test, where water that stayed in the pipes overnight and was the first to come out of the faucet was sampled. Samples from different sources were then tested for lead. If they didn’t pass, the faucets were flushed for 60 seconds, and sampled again.
To pass, the water samples had to have less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of lead.
Ppm is a way of measuring particles in water, so 10 ppm means that 10 out of 1 million particles were lead or another substance.
ACA water was tested in 10 different locations and were all determined safe. “The district tested drinking water and food preparation outlets. These tests included classroom faucets, drinking fountains, water coolers, ice makers and kitchen sinks. We also tested some bathroom sink faucets.” said Gail Hoskins, safety and risk management coordinator for the OCSD.
Other places had some sources test positive for high lead levels, like Holcomb Elementary and Gardiner Middle School, but it was quickly taken care of. If a sample didn’t pass both the first and second test, the faucet was replaced and the water was tested again to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Hoskins, Gail. Personal interview. 6 November 2016
“Water Quality Testing.” Oregon City School District. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2016