August 18, 2022
Dear Staff, Parents, and Community Members,
You may remember that last spring, former Superintendent Skorapa informed you that under new state law LD 153 (An Act to Strengthen Testing for Lead in School Drinking Water), all schools in Maine were mandated to test their water for the presence of lead. In March, all sinks, spigots, and drinking fountains were tested by A & L Laboratory, and several locations were found to have unhealthy levels (levels above 4 parts per billion (ppb). In an effort to determine the source of the unhealthy elevations, the district ordered additional investigatory testing by A & L Laboratory.
All sinks, spigots, and drinking fountains that were found to have unhealthy lead levels in the spring were tested again this summer by A & L Laboratory. The results are now becoming available and will be posted this week as required. As we had suspected in the spring, results suggest that water lying dormant in the fixtures and pipes for at least 8 hours prior to testing continued to show elevated lead levels. However, when these locations were flushed for 30 seconds and tested again, the majority of the sites tested showed a signification decrease in lead levels, with most found to be in the acceptable range of fewer than 4 parts per billion. Because lead levels decreased after flushing, and given the substantial age of our facilities (i.e., pipes and fixtures) we believe that any elevated lead levels are caused by the pipes and fixtures, and not by the water itself.
The district is taking the necessary steps to mitigate the issue as quickly as possible both in the short and long term. In the short term, we are shutting down any water source that was found to have unhealthy lead elevations even after flushing. We will flush all of our water outlets prior to the start of each day, we will replace old fixtures with new, and will install point-of-use water filters where needed. In addition, we are in the process of contacting a water professional to provide support in determining a long-term solution.
Please know that we are dedicated to mitigating this issue as quickly as possible, and we will provide periodic updates as new information becomes available. If you have any questions please reach out to Rick Whitney, Facilities Director at 794-6500 ext. 1110
Paul Austin, Superintendent