Elevated Lead Levels Found at Additional Schools

March 22, 2004
Gaithersburg Elementary School and South Lake Elementary School both have been found with elevated levels of lead in school drinking water after water samples were analyzed by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC).

Of the 90 samples taken at Gaithersburg Elementary on Wednesday, March 17, elevated levels of lead were found in 18 samples. The highest concentration was 81.5 parts per billion (ppb), compared to a standard of no more than 20 ppb.

Of the 57 samples taken at South Lake Elementary on Thursday, March 18, elevated levels of lead were found in eight samples. The highest concentration was 70.4 ppb.

Both schools are participating in the comprehensive program implemented last week to ensure the safety of school drinking water. The safeguards were directed following the identification of elevated levels of lead in the drinking water at Maryvale Elementary.

The safeguards include that all approved sources of drinking water are flushed for 15 minutes every four hours, starting before children arrive for school in the morning and continuing throughout the day. These safeguards were developed by the Montgomery County Public Schools and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, consistent with guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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