Second report confirms lead in Lincoln School water

·2 min read

Jun. 13—Five faucets at Lincoln School in Ashland still produce water with unacceptably high levels of lead, and district officials will work over the summer to address the issue, Ashland schools Superintendent Samuel Bogdanove said Thursday.

Bogdanove made those developments known in an online message to families and staff of the facility after receiving a second report June 7 from a local firm that tested the water.

A May 9 report from the Medford-based Neilson Research Corporation revealed 12 of the 60 faucets in the school had lead above levels deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"The next step is to replace the fixtures and shut-off valves on all the affected faucets, and retest," Bogdanove said.

His announcement came the same day as high school graduation and the last day of the school year for all Ashland students. However, summer school programs will be held on the property, so all classrooms will keep receiving bottled water, and signs in bathrooms will be posted warning everyone about the water.

The EPA has set a maximum standard for lead in water of 15 parts per billion. According to Neilson's report, Lincoln School had lead levels of 19.9, 22.6, 39.4, 57.4 and 120 ppb. Such high levels of lead in water can be a health risk for people, particularly adolescents, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

No students attending the facility, which houses some alternative learning programs and, temporarily, John Muir Outdoor School, have reported any health problems since the lead became known in May.

Bogdanove told the Mail Tribune that officials with the Oregon Department of Education have told him the high levels of lead could be coming from a "faulty fixture or shut-off valve." Lead testing is done every six years, and while no unacceptably high levels of lead were found in 2016, testing methods have changed since then, he said.

In his Friday message, the superintendent said all family questions related to the health of a child who attends Lincoln School could be directed to Jennifer Parks, the school principal.

Bogdanove posted a link on the district's website that provides the water testing reports for Ashland School District facilities and encouraged families to keep checking that for any updates on the Lincoln School situation.

He said his secretary, Jacqueline Schad, could refer families to the right people who would have answers to general questions about how the district is responding to lead in Lincoln's water.

Families who have questions about the state's requirements for lead testing can visit the Oregon Department of Education Healthy and Safe Schools web page for more information, Bogdanove said.

Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.