Updated: Lead levels elevated at Wiscasset schools

Mon, 03/14/2022 - 1:30pm

    On Wednesday, Feb. 23, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Environmental and Community Health tested lead levels at Wiscasset Middle High School and Wiscasset Elementary School.

    Water samples were collected from 17 water fixtures at WMHS and nine fixtures at WES.

    At WMHS, 14 collection sites had elevated lead results (exceeding 4 parts per billion) and at WES, five collection sites had elevated lead results.

    Water at these locations in both schools has been turned off until re-sampling can occur. Remediation will be determined pending re-sampling results, which is expected to be completed by April 1.

    In a March 14 letter to students, staff and the community, Superintendent Terry Wood said, “Areas that are not used very often (water staying in the pipes) have tested the highest. We are running the water for several minutes prior to usage in appropriate areas. Any drinking fountain that tested above the acceptable limits has been turned off and posted; sinks for handwashing only have been posted with signs and additional bottled water will be provided to ensure fresh drinking water is available. Both schools have water coolers that have tested below the acceptable limits so students and staff are able to continue using these to fill their water bottles. This is only the first stage of the collection process. We will keep you posted regarding the followup testing that will be done, and any remediation that will need to be completed.”

    Results for all drinking water outlets tested can be viewed at wiscassetschools.org. The public notice posted on the website has lots of information on how lead gets into the water and ways to take action to reduce risks for those exposed to lead through school drinking water.

    Statewide test results can also be found at www.medwp.com/schools.html