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

Liberals and conservatives divide over value of investing in higher ed
Liberals and conservatives divide over value of investing in higher ed

Are liberals in America more willing to invest in higher education than conservatives? A political divide shows up in a survey released today by Teachers College, Columbia University. In the survey, “Americans’ Views of Higher Education as a Public and Private Good,” 56 percent of self-identified liberals say public spending...
Ethics complaint filed against Atlanta school board vice-chairwoman
Ethics complaint filed against Atlanta school board vice-chairwoman

The Atlanta Public Schools ethics commission will meet Tuesday to review a complaint against school board vice-chairwoman Eshé Collins.  Collins is accused of violating a conflict of interest and board member conduct policies as well as the code of ethics oath, according to a complaint filed late last month by resident Dawn Brockington-Shaw...
Metro Atlanta students report back to school on these dates
Metro Atlanta students report back to school on these dates

Like an ice cream cone that melts too quickly, summer break is almost over, and school buses and parents — no longer off the grid for vacations — will again squeeze onto Atlanta roadways during rush hour. Most metro area school districts will open their doors in early August, taking in more than 800,000 students, though more than one...
Residents ask APS to lower property tax rate more than 1-mill proposal
Residents ask APS to lower property tax rate more than 1-mill proposal

Property tax payers told the Atlanta school board Monday that the district’s proposed one-mill rate reduction doesn’t do enough to help homeowners who will struggle to pay higher tax bills. The call for tax relief came during two public hearings Monday that the Atlanta Board of Education is required to hold before it sets a millage...
Opinion: We have to build more teachers up to rock star status
Opinion: We have to build more teachers up to rock star status

Gwen McCants-Allen is the mother of two boys attending metro Atlanta public schools. She has worked as a human resources manager for more than a decade, including in Gwinnett County Public Schools and another school district. In this guest column, McCants-Allen responds to a blog post last week on the disappointing results of a six-year initiative...
More Stories