North Side Community School (NSCS) is committed to the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and community. In alignment with that commitment, and in compliance with the new Missouri state law, “Get the Lead Out of School Drinking Water Act,” NSCS hired Occu-Tec, a professional environmental consulting firm, to initiate and complete testing of our water sources.
Specifically, each possible drinking and food preparation water source in our schools and buildings was sampled and tested to determine if lead concentration was above the required action level of five parts per billion (5 ppb), which is equal to 5 micrograms per liter. The 5-ppb level required by the State of Missouri is stricter than the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recommended action level of 15 ppb.
While the law specifies that all PK-12 schools receiving state funding have until August 1, 2024, to complete testing at all drinking water outlets and food preparation outlets, NSCS acted promptly, in accordance with our commitment to protecting our community, and tested our facilities this past summer.
Below are the results of our tests, broken down by building:
Fixtures above 5 ppb
% above 5 ppb NON-drinking/food prep
% above 5 ppb Drinking/food prep
Early Childhood Center
*All the drinking/food prep fixtures that were above 5 ppb have been taken out of service and will be remediated or replaced.
UNDERSTANDING THE RESULTS AND TAKING ACTION:
At the Early Childhood Center, the 2 failing fixtures are classroom sinks and are not used for drinking water or food preparation.
At the Elementary School, of the 11 failing fixtures, 8 are restroom or classroom sinks not used for drinking water or food preparation. 1 is a kitchenette sink in a break area that will be removed from service until repaired. The remaining 2 fixtures are drinking fountain bubblers which will be removed from service until repaired.
At the Middle School, of the 6 failing fixtures, 4 are restroom or classroom sinks not used for drinking water or food preparation. 1 is a kitchen prep sink which will be removed from service until repaired. The remaining fixture is a drinking fountain bubbler which will be removed from service until repaired.
In accordance with the statute, we will conduct follow-up testing in all areas identified as deficient. We will provide the results of our follow-up testing to you. Please know we will work diligently to remove every source that is out of compliance.
If you have questions about a lead sample result at a specific outlet and actions taken, or if you have concerns, please email Executive Director, Dr. Douglas Thaman, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions regarding the health of your child or for additional information regarding lead testing, please contact your primary healthcare provider or the City of St. Louis Health Department at 314-612-5100.
Lead is rarely found in source water like groundwater or rivers. Typically, lead in water is the result of corrosion, or the wearing away, of lead-containing materials in the water distribution system, such as pipes and faucets. Since 1986, all plumbing materials must be “lead-free.” The law currently allows plumbing materials to be up to 0.25% lead to be labeled as “lead-free.” While smaller amounts of lead are used in newer water distribution systems, corrosion still occurs. When water stands in lead pipes or plumbing systems containing lead for several hours or more, the lead may dissolve into the drinking water. In such circumstances, the first water drawn from a tap in the morning typically contains the highest traces of lead.
Lead in drinking water, although rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning, can significantly increase a person’s total lead exposure. The EPA estimates that drinking water can make up 20% or more of a person’s total exposure to lead. According to the EPA (www.epa.gov), children of any age are susceptible to the effects of lead, with children under the age of six being most at risk. While effects may vary in scope and severity, the EPA reports that lead might lead to behavior and learning problems, lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems and anemia. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the impact of lead exposure on children can be impacted by a variety of factors, including age, nutrition, the source of exposure, length of time of the exposure, and other underlying health conditions. Elevated levels of lead in pregnant women can also be harmful, possibly severely, to both babies and mothers. Your physician or healthcare provider can provide additional information regarding the effects of lead exposure and, with respect to one’s health history, whether testing for lead should be considered.