After water-faucet replacements in many Gahanna-Jefferson school buildings due to elevated levels of lead, 12 sinks still need remediation and seven sinks require retesting.
The district released an email communication to school families and staff members late Dec. 16, as well as a correction to that release Dec. 17 to Royal Manor Elementary families, providing an update regarding the issue.
After 68 faucets were replaced and flushed in late November, follow-up test results indicated that most of the faucets were under the Environmental Protection Agency lead-action level, said Steve Barrett, district superintendent.
James Lee, Ohio EPA media manager, said the U.S. EPA has not issued a health-based number for safe levels of lead in drinking water.
He said the Ohio EPA continues to use the “action level” of 15 milligrams per liter for corrective actions.
Barrett said the lead levels in the affected sinks were found to be at concentrations ranging from 17 to 1,000 milligrams per liter.
“We took these findings very seriously and swiftly eliminated the use of those sinks while we initiated a comprehensive program of corrective actions,” he said.
The district sought the assistance of the Ohio EPA and the Franklin County Board of Health and will continue to collaborate with them as work is completed, Barrett said.
The 12 sinks that still contain elevated levels of lead include the following:
• Blacklick Elementary School, 6540 Havens Corners Road, in room 56.
• Chapelfield Elementary School, 280 Chapelfield Road, in rooms 127 and 130.
• High Point Elementary School, 700 Venetian Way, in rooms 15, 19 and 28.
• Jefferson Elementary School, 136 Carpenter Road, in the kitchen.
• Lincoln Elementary School, 515 Havens Corners Road, in rooms 119 and 125.
• Royal Manor Elementary School, 299 Empire Drive, in room 205 and the reading room (also referred to as office).
• Middle School East, 730 Clotts Road, in room 12.
The communication to district families Dec. 16 listed incorrect rooms at Royal Manor that still tested above the EPA action level.
Barrett said each sink would be evaluated individually to identify the cause of the elevated levels.
He said no sink would return to service until testing indicates levels under the EPA action level.
Only new faucets that tested under the EPA action level were returned to service, he said.
Follow-up testing wasn’t definitive in seven faucets at the following buildings:
• Chapelfield Elementary School, in the media center.
• High Point Elementary School, in rooms 39 and 65.
• Middle School West, 350 N. Stygler Road, in the boys locker room.
• Gahanna Lincoln High School, 140 S. Hamilton Road, in rooms 140 and 100.
• Clark Hall, 380 Granville St., in the teacher work space.
Barrett said water from those seven faucets would be retested.
“Going forward, we will continue to test our building water on a consistent basis to (ensure) the water is clean and safe for students and staff,” he said. “Our initial tests completed in November included several hundred water samples collected from the 12 schools in our district.”
He said clear protocols also would be established for frequent flushing of water lines and faucets to prevent lead buildup in faucets.