ShareThis Page

Lead found at Colfax elementary in Springdale prompts bottled water use

| Thursday, March 16, 2017, 5:57 p.m.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Colfax Upper Elementary School in Springdale.

Water fountains and classroom sinks were shut off at Colfax Upper Elementary School in Springdale on Thursday after high lead levels were found in one classroom sink.

They are expected to remain off until about the middle of next week.

In a letter to parents, Allegheny Valley Superintendent Patrick Graczyk said the district was notified Thursday morning of the preliminary results of lead tests conducted at all of the district's schools on March 10.

No problems were found at Acmetonia Primary School nor Springdale Junior-Senior High School, district spokeswoman Jan Zastawniak said.

According to the letter, 23 samples were taken from 12 fixtures at Colfax.

The letter stated that one of two tests on a classroom sink “recorded higher levels of lead than acceptable.”

No details were provided on the levels detected. Levels were said to be acceptable in a second sample from the same sink.

According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, lead levels in drinking water should not exceed 15 parts per billion.

With classroom sinks and drinking fountains shut off, the district made bottled water available to students and staff.

“We always have bottled water in that building,” Zastawniak said. “At times, Springdale's water is brown. We don't believe the students want to drink that, so we have bottled water for them whenever they want it.”

More tests to be done

The district is having more testing done. Zastawniak said tests are scheduled for Saturday, and results are due back by Wednesday.

The fountains and classrooms sinks will remain off until the results show acceptable lead levels.

Water remains on in the school's kitchen and in bathroom sinks for hand washing, Zastawniak said.

In his letter, Graczyk said district representatives consulted with an “environmental agency” to review its actions. The agency was not identified.

Allegheny County Health Department spokeswoman Melissa Wade said she was uncertain if her department had been contacted, or if that would have been required.

“Everything we're doing right now is precautionary,” Zastawniak said. “We don't believe there are any issues. We're going the precautionary route and doing extensive testing so we can put any kind of questions to rest.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701 or at brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.