Collierville Schools addresses buildings with elevated lead in drinking water

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Lead levels in the drinking water at two Collierville schools recently tested “above the regulatory limit.” 

Collierville Schools tested the levels at West Collierville Middle School on April 16 and Collierville Elementary School on April 23. 

A location in each school tested higher than the 15 parts of lead per billion parts (ppb) limit recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The “old clinic sink” at West Middle was tested at 48.8 ppb and the sink in room 214 at Collierville Elementary tested at 22 ppb. 

“The sources with elevated lead levels have been removed from service and will remain out of service until remediation can be achieved,” school officials stated. “Sample results reveal lead levels are below the regulatory limit.” 

All school facilities built before 1998 are required to test lead in drinking water every two years. If test results show that lead levels exceed 15 ppb but are below 20 ppb, the school must conduct lead level tests on an annual basis.

Seventy six samples were collected from West Middle, with one showing elevated results.

Forty three samples were taken from Collierville Elementary. Crosswind Elementary and the Collierville Schools Central Office tested negative for elevated lead levels. 

Lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. 

The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets and fixtures.

Lead pipes are more likely to be found in older cities and homes built before 1986.

Among buildings without lead service lines, the most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and plumbing with lead solder.

The Safe Drinking Water Act has reduced the maximum allowable lead content to be a weighted average of 0.25 percent calculated across the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures and 0.2 percent for solder and flux.

Young children, infants and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to lead because the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels in children than in adults.

A dose of lead that would have little effect on an adult can have a significant effect on a child. 

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