DeKalb Schools finds elevated lead levels in early water testing

The DeKalb County School District has found elevated lead levels at Redan Elementary School, including one test point with levels more than 150 times federally mandated limits.

The district also posted results Wednesday from DeKalb Preparatory Academy Charter School on its website, where lead levels were within federal limits.

Among the findings:

• Lead was found in seven of 27 test points

• Comparison tests only found lead levels in three of the seven test points

• A test found lead at 2,280 parts per billion in a kindergarten classroom sink

• Testing at the connection point to the school from DeKalb County’s water source was inconclusive and is being retested.

You can find information such as Redan’s test scores here.

A letter posted on the website says the water sources at Redan Elementary where elevated lead levels were discovered have been turned off and will be replaced.

“In each instance, the water supply will remain off during the entirety of the remediation process until the problem is resolved,” the letter states. “Following remediation, we will resample each repaired/replaced source to ensure that no drinking water exceeds EPA lead action levels.”

Atlanta Environmental Management is collecting samples for testing.

The Environmental Protection Agency limits lead levels to 15 parts per billion. School water fountains should not exceed lead concentrations of 1 part per billion, recommends the American Society of Pediatrics, saying even low lead levels could affect behavior and learning. Old pipes contribute to lead levels, and water left sitting in pipes can further elevate numbers.

No Georgia law requires testing water for lead in schools or day care centers.

Chief Operating Officer Joshua Williams said recently that elementary schools will be among the first tested, given priority because of those students’ ages. The district’s 106 buildings built before 1986 are at high risk, as lead was legally used during construction. Lead levels depend on several factors, including the water temperature as well as how long it sits in pipes.

The Redan Elementary building was built in 1935.

Recently, Atlanta Public Schools found elevated lead levels in some of its buildings, too.

You can find information about your DeKalb County school, such as test scores, graduation rates and school climate rating at the Ultimate Atlanta School Guide.