Samples Of Water At 11 County Schools Found With Unsafe Lead Levels

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Out of 806 water samples recently collected at 27 Hamilton County Schools, 12 (1.4%) samples included lead at a concentration at or greater than the state’s limit of 20 ppb.

Officials said, "Each of these 12 water outlets were immediately removed from use, and remediation work and retesting will be performed as soon as possible. There are no concerns with the overall quality or safety of drinking water at any of the tested facilities.""

The 12 outlets are located at 11 facilities.

Summer 2022 Water Testing Summary School Variances

Alpine Crest Elementary None

Barger Elementary 1

Brainerd High 1

Central High l None

CSAS 1

CSLA None

Daisy Elementary None

Dalewood Middle 1

Dupont Elementary 2

Hamilton County High 1 (Harrison Bay Future Ready Center)

Hillcrest Elementary None

Hunter Middle None

Normal Park Lower 1 Normal Park Upper 1

North Hamilton County 1

Orchard Knob Middle None Red Bank High School 1

Rivermont Elementary None

Sale Creek Middle/High None

Sequoyah High 1

Soddy Daisy Middle None

Soddy Daisy High None

Snow Hill Elementary None

Thrasher Elementary None

Wallace Smith Elementary None

Woodmore Elementary None

Washington Alternative None

“Hamilton County Schools is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff,” said HCS Chief Operations Officer Dr. Robert Sharpe. “As a part of that commitment, we have held ourselves to stricter water testing standards than those required by the state, and we have worked to be transparent about our test results to school families and our community. Today’s release of our most recent test results is the latest step in that process.”

Under Tennessee Code Annotated 49-2-133, local boards of education are required to periodically test for lead in drinking water sources.

Officials said, "To safeguard the health of our students and staff, HCS has conducted ongoing sampling, testing, and reporting for lead in drinking water across all its schools for the past two years. In terms of allowable lead limits and schools being tested, HCS has adopted guidelines that go beyond the law’s requirements.

"According to state law, if a water sample tests at or above 20 parts per billion (ppb), the school shall immediately remove the drinking water source from service. Hamilton County Schools (HCS) has adopted a stricter standard of 15 ppb to immediately remove the drinking water source from service until corrective action can be taken.

"Additionally, HCS has sampled all schools, even though only buildings built prior to 1998 are required by state law. In 2020, we began testing water outlets at our schools for lead as part of a new regulation in Tennessee for schools built prior to 1998. During Summer 2020, samples were collected from over 2,000 different water outlets at 53 schools.

"During Summer 2021, over 1,000 additional samples were collected as part of a voluntary effort at schools built in 1998 or later. In 2022, we have retested all schools built prior to 1998 that were originally tested in 2020. Samples from 24 schools were collected over spring break and reported in May, and the remaining 27 pre-1998 schools were tested this summer to complete this round of testing."  


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