Manchester Schools Shut Off Drinking Fountains After High Lead Levels Found

Sep 6, 2016

Credit John K via Flickr CC

Sinks and water fountains in nine Manchester schools have been turned off after testing found levels at or higher than acceptable levels. 

The school district tested water in all of its 22 schools over the summer, prompted by the crisis in Flint, Mich. That testing found 25 sinks and water fountains at 12 schools measured at a lead level at or higher than the acceptable limit of 15 parts per billion. 

According to a statement released by the school district Friday, those locations were retested twice, and the results showed much lower lead levels. A third test found elevated lead levels in two sinks and one drinking fountain.

The district says a plumbing modification or replacement will correct the problem, but those sinks and drinking fountains will be shut off in the mean time.

Thirteen additional drinking fountains and classroom sinks identified after the second testing sample are also turned. Nine schools are affected: Gossler Park, Green Acres, Smyth Road, Jewett Street, Northwest, and Webster elementary schools; Hillside Middle School; and Central and West high schools.

“It is highly unlikely that a school age child would have received significant exposure to lead in water from fixtures at school,” said Tim Soucy, Public Health Director for the City of Manche

Philip Croasdale, director of Manchester Water Works, said the source of the lead is not the lake or water treatment facility.

“Rather, lead can enter drinking water as a result of corrosion, as water comes into contact with pipes, plumbing connections, and fixtures. That’s why we can isolate our concerns to individual locations within a school.”

With warm temperatures in the forecast for this week, as students head back to school Tuesday, Superintendent Debra Livingston told the Union Leader she's confident students will have adequate access to drinking water, but students are welcome to bring their own bottled water, as well.

“We want to be sure we are doing everything we can to protect the health of our children,” said Livingston. 

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