Environmental Services

Updated on Thu, 03/02/2017 - 3:05pm

Water Sampling Information for the Five Star Community

Adams 12 Five Star Schools and the cities in which it serves are partnering in a proactive effort to sample drinking water in all Five Star school buildings to ensure it meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for lead. Lead isn’t present in the water sent to our schools from the cities, but it can get into the water as it moves through lead-containing plumbing and fixtures. While we have no reason to believe our schools have elevated-levels of lead in their water supply, the safety of our students and staff is our top priority.

Starting in January 2017, we began sampling the water in drinking fountains, kitchen food prep sinks, lounge sinks and any other fixtures used for drinking water in all Five Star schools. The district plans to complete sampling of all schools* and results will be sent to families and posted online as they become available. All sampling work is expected to be completed by the end of the 2016-2017 school year. 

*Please note that charter schools handle their own facilities and will need to be contacted directly about water sampling. 

Letter to Parents and Guardians

Read the letter explaining our lead sampling program from Superintendent Chris Gdowski:

Guide for Parents

Read a guide for parents by the Tri-County Health Department on understanding lead issues. (In Spanish)
 

Water Sampling Results

View your school's water sampling results - Results will be added for schools as they become available. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Lead Testing

Printable FAQ: English | Spanish

  1. Why is the district testing school drinking water for lead?
  2. How is lead measured?
  3. What action will the district take if lead is found?
  4. What do we know about lead and health risks?
  5. How will the district communicate school results?
  6. Does the district expect to find lead in schools' drinking water?
  7. How can I learn more about lead exposure?
  8. How can I get more information about this testing at my school?

Why is the district testing school drinking water for lead?

Recently, local and national reports have indicated higher levels of lead in some school drinking water. Lead isn’t present in the water sent to our schools from cities, but it can potentially get into water as it moves through lead-containing plumbing and fixtures. While there is no state or federal mandate requiring schools to test for lead, the safety of our students, staff and schools is our number one priority; therefore, our Environmental Services team felt it was necessary to proactively sample drinking water sources to ensure they meet federal guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

How is lead measured?

Our Environmental Services team and staff from our Facilities department will visit and test water at all schools during the second semester of the 2016-2017 school year. Water samples will be collected from every drinking fountain, kitchen food prep sink, lounge sink or other fixtures used for drinking water. Eurofins Laboratories is providing bottles for sample collection and conducting the laboratory analysis. 

The Environmental Protection Agency measures the amount of lead in water as “parts per billion” or “ppb”. One part per billion is equivalent to a single drop of water in 55,000 gallons.

What action will the district take if lead is found?

As with several other Colorado school districts that are conducting voluntary sampling, Adams 12 Five Star Schools is following EPA guidelines that any water fixture with lead levels at or above 15 ppb be taken offline until remedied. Remedies may include fixture replacement, adding water filters and/or other plumbing repairs. If remediation is necessary, the school community will be notified and remediation work will begin immediately. While a fixture is taken offline, alternative sources of water will be provided to needed classrooms until the situation is resolved and a follow-up sampling indicates lead levels below 15 ppb.

Parents will be notified by a letter from their principal directing them to this site to review testing results, if needed. 

What do we know about lead and health risks?

Lead exposure over long periods of time can cause health risks. While water is not the primary source of lead exposure among children, it is still a priority of the Five Star District to ensure all of our schools meet the recommendations set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Read a guide for parents by the Tri-County Health Department on understanding lead issues. 

How will the district communicate school results?

As soon as results for each individual school become available, they will be communicated by the school to families and posted online.

Does the district expect to find lead in schools' drinking water?

While we have no reason to believe our schools have elevated levels of lead in their water supply, we do have a number of older schools. This makes it more likely we will have lead levels close to or above the EPA recommendations. If so, we will inform our families and staff, and begin remediation work.

How can I learn more about lead exposure?

Resources are available from the Environmental Protection Agency (https://www.epa.gov/lead). We invite you to read a guide for parents produced by the Tri-County Health Department on understanding lead issues. You may also consult with your child’s health care provider. 

How can I get more information about this testing at my school?

Contact the district’s Environmental Services team.