In June 2016, the Morrow County School District tested drinking water sites at all of its schools for the potential presence of lead. Results from Box R Water Analysis Laboratory in Prineville indicate that all sites tested showed “no lead detected” or were below the EPA limit of 0.020.
The Morrow County district joined school districts across eastern Oregon who are testing their drinking water this summer. Currently, there are no state or federal requirements for schools to test drinking water for lead, and it has not been a practice in the past. In mid May, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) created a plan regarding lead in school water. The plan requests all school districts that get drinking water from public water systems test for lead in school buildings; requires districts to use certified drinking water testing labs to process the water samples; asks ODE and OHA to develop a method for schools to report results to OHA; and for OHA to provide drinking water expertise to schools for support as they test.
Many schools receive their water from community or city water systems. These public water systems regularly test the water and many already treat the water to help reduce corrosion of plumbing. However, lead that is present in pipes and fixtures in building plumbing can enter the water at the tap and expose those who drink it --- that is why sampling and testing for lead at each tap is important.
“The Morrow County School District is pleased to report that water at our schools is safe for drinking. We will continue to monitor this and will keep communicating to parents and our community,” said Dirk Dirksen, superintendent.