Drinking water turned off at River Bluff

November 12th, 2014 by Steve

Elevated lead levels at school spur quick action

By: Scott De Laruelle

Students and staff at River Bluff Middle School may need a bit of extra room on their desks for bottled water in the foreseeable future.

After receiving results of a water test showing elevated levels of lead in the school’s water on Tuesday afternoon, the Stoughton Area School District turned off the school’s water fountains and will provide bottled water to students, staff and guests until further notice.

District communications director Derek Spellman sent an email Tuesday afternoon to River Bluff parents about the water situation. He wrote that earlier this month, the district received a letter from Stoughton Utilities stating that water tests in various parts of the city showed levels of lead above the public health standard of 15 parts per billion. In response, the district had voluntary follow-up water tests done at all facilities, and received the results of those on Tuesday, showing River Bluff was slightly above that level, at 16 parts per billion.

District officials decided to turn off the drinking fountains immediately and provide bottled water for students and staff until further notice, including sports events the school hosts.

“While some would suggest that our response was a conservative one given we only have one test result, we want to make sure we take the most cautious approach with anything regarding the safety of our students,” he wrote.

The district is now asking for more testing to see if lead levels in the drinking water at the school are higher than they should be. Breakfast and lunch on Wednesday will consist of items prepared in another building, but due to the short time district officials had to “navigate this change,” the only lunch offering will be a sack lunch in the hot lunch line.

“We are working to come up with an alternative water source in the kitchen so we can resume our normal food service operations as soon as possible,” Spellman wrote. “We will send out additional communications about any changes to our menus as needed.”

If more testing indicates an issue with River Bluff’s water, district officials will work with Stoughton Utilities to isolate and address the concern to ensure quality, safe water is available at River Bluff. Spellman said the district will continue to update parents and residents as more information becomes available.

Filed under: General, Lead Testing, North American Markets

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