Replacement water fixtures appear to have cleared up problems of high lead levels in water at two schools in Gig Harbor, Peninsula School District officials report.
The school district learned earlier this month that a drinking fountain at Kopachuck Middle School and a sink in the music room office at Voyager Elementary School were pouring out unacceptably high levels of lead in the water.
Officials emphasized the problems were limited to those two isolated spots and both fixtures were immediately taken out of service, removed and replaced.
Follow-up testing on the two replacement fixtures showed lead levels this week at well below the 15 parts per billion threshold set by state and federal rules.
The new levels are at 0.005 parts per billion in the Kopachuck drinking fountain and 0.008 parts per billion in the Voyager sink, according to district officials.
Previously, the Kopachuck fixture tested at 19 parts per billion, while the one at Voyager tested at 41 parts per billion.
.005parts per billion now in the Kopachuck fixture
In a message to Voyager and Kopachuck families, district Community Outreach Director Kathy Weymiller said testing will continue throughout both buildings to ensure water quality.
A single well serves the two schools, and the small water system is owned by the Peninsula School District and managed for the district by the Peninsula Light Co.
Since 1997, the water system has been regularly monitored for lead. In 2003, tests showed lead was above the federal action level, the school district reported.
.008parts per billion now in the Voyager fixture
The school district replaced fixtures and, in 2006, Peninsula Light installed anti-corrosion treatment. Since 2010, the water system has been tested every three years.
State health officials said that as a result of the recent findings, the water system will be tested every six months. After two back-to-back “clean” results on the six-month cycle, testing can be carried out annually.
After two acceptable annual tests, the sampling can return to its three-year cycle.