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.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

Georgia teacher retirement fund has small investments in gun companies
Georgia teacher retirement fund has small investments in gun companies

The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia has investments in thousands of companies in its $76 billion portfolio, such as technology giants Amazon and Apple. It also invests in businesses heavily involved in firearms sales and supplies such as Sturm Ruger & Co. and Vista Outdoor, about $6 million, Buster Evans, the system’s executive director...
Engineering firm shows students how lessons apply in real world
Engineering firm shows students how lessons apply in real world

A primary focus of today’s school systems is educating students with an eye toward career goals, so engaging private businesses is key. A recent outing sponsored by Columbia Engineering, a community partner with nearby Coleman Middle School, shows why. It gave a group of eighth-graders what teacher LaShandia Hill called “a true ‘day...
Mass shootings spur metro Atlanta students to plan school walkouts
Mass shootings spur metro Atlanta students to plan school walkouts

Students across metro Atlanta plan to walk out of at least two dozen middle schools, high schools and universities next month as part of a national protest against gun violence. The National School Walkout is one of three high-profile demonstrations that students around the country are joining as they call for gun law changes after last week&rsquo...
Tighter rules for Uber Eats delivery, visitors at Atlanta high school
Tighter rules for Uber Eats delivery, visitors at Atlanta high school

After last week’s school shooting in Florida, North Atlanta High School will institute safety measures that include disciplining students who order food delivery and tighter rules for visitors.  North Atlanta principal Curtis Douglass sent a letter to parents Friday outlining security changes at the high school.  Among the changes...
NFL player discusses what he’ll bring home from Morehouse College social justice workshop
NFL player discusses what he’ll bring home from Morehouse College social justice workshop

Najee Goode, a linebacker on the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, is one of 27 current and former athletes visiting Morehouse College in Atlanta this week for a three-day workshop on how they can address social justice issues in their communities. The workshop was created after last year’s national debate over the appropriateness...
More Stories