High lead levels found in water at Richford school

Published: Feb. 23, 2018 at 7:46 AM EST
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Lead levels of more than 100 parts per billion were found in a Vermont school.

This comes after the superintendents of 16 schools signed up to have their water tested for lead by the Vermont Health Department.

That includes Richford Elementary School, where several problems were found.

As a reminder, lead levels are talked about in terms of parts per billion, or ppb. Members of the Vermont Health Department like to see changes made after a level of 1 ppb or more. The federal level set by the EPA is much higher at 15.

Out of the 26 spots tested at Richford Elementary, 14 of them were higher than 15 ppb during the first test at the faucets. In fact, two results were higher than 100 ppb, at 115 ppb and 109 ppb.

Schools in Vermont using public water are not required to have their water tested for lead regularly and are not required to fix high levels.

However, Lynn Cota, the superintendent of the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union, says they are making changes.

"School administration and our head of maintenance immediately took the drinking fountains in question out of service and have made arrangements to replace the main drinking fountains," Cota said.

She says they are following recommendations to fix the issue.

"We are in the process of replacing the necessary fixtures and will happily comply with recommendations from the ANR and Department of Health in order to ensure safe drinking water for our students and staff," Cota said.