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Water Testing - October, 2016

posted Oct 21, 2016, 12:12 PM by Dianne Georgantas   [ updated Oct 21, 2016, 12:23 PM ]

October 21, 2016

 Dear Longmeadow Staff and Families,

 You may be aware that Longmeadow Public Schools recently volunteered to participate in a water testing program. This program involved testing school taps and water fountains for lead and copper levels. The testing was conducted in collaboration with the Longmeadow Department of Public Works (DPW) and the MA Department of Environmental Protection(MassDEP).   This was a proactive measure to ensure that our district, along with hundreds of other districts, took the necessary steps to guard against elevated exposure to these contaminants.

 The sampling was extensive.  Over 600 samples were drawn with taps being tested upon opening and again after a 30-second flush.   As the table below indicates some water taps at four of our schools exceeded the Massachusetts Action Levels for lead and copper.  These taps were found at: Blueberry Hill, Center, Williams and Glenbrook. Wolf Swamp tests did not exceed action levels. We have not yet received the results for LHS.

 For reference, the Massachusetts Action Level for lead in drinking water is 0.015 milligrams per liter (also known as parts per million).  The Massachusetts and federal Action Level for copper in drinking water is 1.3 milligrams per liter (also known as parts per million).   

 Officials from the DPW and the Department of Public Health (DPH) who have reviewed the results are confident that this is not a public health threat and that lead and copper are not elevated in our public water supply.  As we anticipated, the results do provide us with valuable information about where to replace fixtures and plumbing connections that are causing elevated levels. The Longmeadow Board of Health has indicated “that the drinking water from school fixtures is much less significant source of lead for children than lead paint and lead dust in the home environment, lead in soils or airborne lead.  The testing of the school fixtures is a very pro-active initiative to identify low level exposure sources. The School Department has conscientiously followed DEP protocol to inactivate or replace the fixtures whose tests indicate lead concentration that exceed the standard to safeguard the health of the students and staff of the Longmeadow Public Schools.”

 The following statement relating to lead and copper exposure was provided to us from the MassDEP:  

Exposure to lead is a concern because lead is a toxic metal that has a range of adverse health effects. Copper is a necessary micronutrient and is needed in small “trace” amounts for good health but too much copper in the diet or in drinking water may cause adverse health effects. Some people who consume drinking water with copper in excess of the EPA action level may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. However, most people are unlikely to experience health problems from exposure to modestly elevated copper levels in drinking water because the human body has a natural mechanism for maintaining the proper level of copper in it. People with Wilson's disease, children less than one year old, and individuals with liver disease cannot eliminate excess copper from their bodies as well and are more likely to experience negative health effects on the liver and kidney from shortterm exposure to copper levels that exceed the EPA’s action level. See the MassDEP Fact Sheet on copper and your health at http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/water/drinking/alpha/athruh/copperfs.pdf.

 Please be assured that we are doing everything that we can, as quickly as we can, to address these issues.  We are working collaboratively with the Longmeadow DPW, the Longmeadow DPH and MassDEP to safeguard the health of the students, faculty and staff. 

 The following corrective actions are currently being taken:

  1.  All taps that exceed actions levels have been either removed or replaced.
  2.  We will conduct additional testing on those fixtures that have been replaced to ensure that levels are acceptable.
  3.  Where necessary, we are implementing a “flushing plan” to safeguard drinking water at outlets that are found to be above the Action Levels for lead and copper.
  4.   We have posted the full testing results to www.longmeadow.k12.ma.us and informational resources relating to lead and copper  exposure.
  5.   In accordance with MassDEP guidelines, we have developed a sampling plan to conduct testing at outlets (faucets, water fountains,  etc.) where students and staff get water for drinking, beverage preparation and cooking.

 As always, if you have questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact my office at 565-4200, the Longmeadow Board of Health at 565-4140 or the Longmeadow DPW at 567-3400.

 Sincerely,

 Marty O’Shea

Superintendent of Schools

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8V0AnFWnHidZHFiX2tEeGhyRms/view?usp=sharing

Additional Information posted below:


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Dianne Georgantas,
Oct 21, 2016, 12:12 PM
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Dianne Georgantas,
Oct 21, 2016, 12:12 PM
Ċ
Dianne Georgantas,
Oct 21, 2016, 12:12 PM
Ċ
Dianne Georgantas,
Oct 21, 2016, 12:12 PM
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