In accordance with new state law (Public Act 99-0922), Williamsfield Schools contracted Moreland Environmental Services to conduct lead testing of our water on Wednesday, December 27, 2017. Testing is required on the following water sources in elementary school buildings:
- Drinking fountains
- Sources of drinking water
- PREK and Kindergarten classroom sinks
Water testing at Williamsfield Schools followed protocol recommended by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Public Act 99-0922. All water sources had two samples collected. The first collection at each source is considered a “first draw” sample. Water collection occurs in first draw samples after sources were unused for at least eight (8) hours. The second sample at the same source was collected after 30 seconds of flushing. The two (2) samples are intended to help identify if any detected lead concentrations originate from the fixture or the potable water piping leading to the fixture. Flush times and sampling are noted on lab reports. All water sources were sampled between 8 and 18 hours after last use. A summary of the report is included below. The full report can be viewed here. We have some areas to address and an action plan for doing so, but rest assured, our building is safe. Our drinking water is safe. We have temporarily "shut down" all fixtures in question until professionals can conduct further study. Bottled water is available for students and staff to supplement our newer water fountains which have been declared safe.
The lists below represents water sources where a concentration level above 5.0 ppb was detected from at least one of the two "draws." The lists below are organized according to the recommended corrective action from Moreland Environmental Services.
List #1 Recommendation: Establish a morning flush routine. Evidence indicates a 30 second flush in the morning reduces levels to less than 5.0 ppb.
- PREK (Bosnich) classroom hand sink - second draw was under 1.0 ppb
- 1st grade classroom hand sink - second draw was under 1.0 ppb
- 2nd grade classroom hand sink - second draw was under 1.0 ppb
- Nurse's restroom hand sink - second draw was under 1.0 ppb
- Life Science Lab sink 1 - second draw was under 2.0 ppb
- STEM Lab sink 1 - second draw was under 1.0 ppb
- STEM Lab sink 2 - second draw was under 1.0 ppb
- Kitchen hand washing sink - second draw was under 4.0 ppb
List #2 Recommendation: Repair the fixture &/or components (e.g., shut-off valve) then retest the water
- (4) Cafeteria water fountains - second draw on all units was under 5.0 ppb
- Original high school water fountain
- Girl's locker room water fountain
- Boy's locker room water fountain
- Elementary Special Education classroom hand sink
- Life Science Lab sink 2 - second draw was under 5.0 ppb
- (3) Culinary Lab sinks - second draw on 2 units was under 5.0 ppb
- (7) Chemistry Lab sinks - second draw on 2 units was under 5.0 ppb
- Music Room storage room sink
- Kitchen restroom sink
Lead most frequently gets into drinking water by leaching from plumbing materials and fixtures as water moves through a school’s distribution system. Even though the drinking water we receive from the village may meet federal and state standards for lead, our facility may have elevated lead levels due to plumbing materials and water use patterns. Leaching can occur for several reasons, the most common being corrosion due to contact with acidic water over time. Elevated lead levels are commonly attributed to a fixture's lack of use (e.g., a little used sink or drinking fountain).
The use of lead in the plumbing industry was banned in 1986. This ban did not entirely eliminate lead as 0.2% lead is still allowed in solder, and 8% lead is allowed in piping systems. Pre-1986 plumbing systems have a higher potential to leach lead into drinking water. The main portion of our building was constructed in 1981-82.
Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful to human health. Young children, those 6 years and younger, are at particular risk for lead exposure because they have frequent hand-to-mouth activity and absorb lead more easily than do adults. Children’s nervous systems are still undergoing development and thus are more susceptible to the effects of toxic agents. Lead is also harmful to the developing fetuses of pregnant women. For more technical information regarding lead and school drinking water, see the technical guidance document from the US EPA here. While there is no known safe level of lead in drinking water, the EPA guidance lists a recommended action level of 20.0 parts per billion (ppb) of lead. When lead concentrations are at 20.0 ppb or greater, some action should be taken to reduce the concentration in the affected outlets. Public Act 99-0922 goes a step further and requires Williamsfield Schools to provide notification to parents identifying each location with a detected concentration exceeding 5.0 ppb.
- School personnel will conduct morning flush cycles in accordance with List #1 recommendations.
- School personnel will turn water off to List #2 fixtures until proper repairs & retesting can occur.
- Minor repairs to targeted List #2 fixtures will be made this week, in preparation for retesting.
- School personnel is working to secure retesting by Moreland Environmental Services on January 19, 2018.
- BOE President Ingle has established a special BOE "Safe Water Committee" to explore the issue. The first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 25th at 7am in the Kutkat Conference Room of the administrative office. Committee members include:
- Chuck Ingle (Committee Chair)
- Brian Howard (BOE member)
- Tim Farquer (Superintendent)
- Lee Wight (Village President)
- Tom Rice (Head of Village Water Department)
Williamsfield Village Water Information:
The village of Williamsfield conducts regular water testing in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. Lead testing occurs on a 3-year cycle, bacterial testing occurs monthly or immediately following a breach of the system (line break), and Chlorine/Flouride/Hardness testing is conducted daily. The village water department will conduct new lead testing as soon as possible in an effort to eliminate the possibility of village water as the source of the school issue. A screenshot of the village lead and copper testing history can be viewed below. You will notice a history of little to no lead concentration in test results. Additional village water system details can be studied online here.
For additional information about lead in drinking water, please be sure to visit the USEPA website.
The Williamsfield Schools Board of Education & Superintendent Tim Farquer