Lead found at Boise's Fairmont Jr. High; officials now checking 27 other schools

BOISE - Water tested at Fairmont Junior High School in Boise has registered positive for elevated levels of lead, according to the Boise School District.

“All water faucets and fixtures which failed testing were immediately taken out of service, and are being replaced. Previous testing at Fairmont in 2017 did not show any lead levels above the EPA threshold,” said District spokesman Dan Hollar. “However, tests conducted in mid-September of 2018 at the school indicated the presence of lead in some fixtures such as faucets, not from the water source.” 

In addition to Fairmont, the District has 27 schools built before 1986. 

That same year, Congress banned the use of lead solder -- and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes and other plumbing materials. “Though the Environmental Protection Agency does not require it, the District is in the process of proactively testing water at 27 other schools built before 1986 and taking extra steps to ensure availability of safe drinking water for students and staff,” Hollar stated.

As the tests proceed, the District is requiring custodians at each of the 27 schools to follow EPA guidelines by running water at each of the school’s water fixtures each morning and afternoon to clear the lines, altering water bottle policies, and reaching out to the public. 

The 27 schools are:

1.Adams 
2.Boise  
3.Borah  
4.Capital 
5.Collister 
6.Fairmont 
7.Fort Boise 
8.Garfield 
9.Hawthorne 
10.Highlands 
11.Hillcrest 
12.Hillside 
13.Jefferson 
14.Koelsch 
15.Longfellow 
16.Liberty 
17.Madison 
18.Maple Grove 
19.Monroe 
20.Mountain View 
21.North  
22.Owyhee 
23.Pierce Park 
24.Taft 
25.Valley View 
26.Washington 
27.Whittier 

“While we know that this information may cause some concern, we are taking the necessary steps to address the situation and confirm the safety of water throughout the district,” Hollar pointed out. “Alternative water will be available for those families who choose not to use the school's drinking water.”

Boise School District is also working with state and federal authorities to ensure an appropriate response.  

“In the Boise School District, there is nothing that we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We will continue to update the community as additional testing is conducted and work is completed,” Hollar said. 

If parents whose children attend the school have questions or want more information about lead in drinking water, Hollar recommended they visit the EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water  

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