Published on July 21st, 2016 |


High lead levels found in water at 2 Buckhead Schools have been corrected

As part of a district-wide inspection of all 113 Atlanta Public Schools-owned campuses April through June, high levels of lead were recently found in the water supply at two schools serving Buckhead: Sutton Middle and Smith Elementary.

Atlanta Public Schools announced July 20 that at the midway point of its voluntary water testing initiative, 97 percent of the water sources (drinking fountains and bathroom, kitchen and classroom faucets) tested had met federal standards for safety in reference to the presence of lead, which is 15 parts per billion (ppb).

APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstaphen

APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstaphen

The initial testing took place in April through June, and three sites at two Buckhead schools – Sutton Middle (27.6 and 25 ppb) and Smith Elementary (51.8 ppb) –  failed the initial test. One sink at Smith’s intermediate campus on Wieuca Road passed its test after being flushed.

A gym concession sink at Sutton’s sixth-grade academy on Powers Ferry Road and a water fountain at the seventh- and eighth-grade campus on Northside Drive each failed the first test. Both were taken offline June 23 and are awaiting a facilities upgrade.

In total, initial testing has been completed on 2,817 water sources in 113 district-owned buildings. Initial results have come back for 67 buildings, including 60 school sites.

The results showed elevated levels of lead in 45 of 1,667 water sources. That means that of these initial results, 97.3 percent of the water sources passed with 42 of the district’s school sites meeting EPA standards in all of the tested water sources in those schools.

Of the 25 school sites that showed elevated levels of lead on the first test, seven passed after a re-test. The remaining 18 are awaiting retesting results or facility upgrades such as replacing of faucets or other plumbing fixtures.

“We made the decision to be proactive in making sure that the water in all of our facilities is safe,” district Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen said in a news release. “We owe it to our parents, students and employees to provide them with learning and working environments that are clean, safe and secure.”

Two private, independent and certified environmental testing consultants have been hired to conduct the EPA standards testing. The work will be concluded before the beginning of the new school year.

If there are any additional elevated levels of lead found in buildings, the district is implementing corrective actions and developing a plan to provide safe water for students and employees in every building. Test results are coming in daily and remediations are being made throughout the summer.


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