Cherry Creek School District Lead Testing Information
Why did we test school drinking water for lead?
After the Flint, Michigan water crisis, the majority of school districts in Colorado decided to undergo water testing, conducted by an outside, expert entity, to determine whether there is lead in the water at any schools. Unlike Flint, the potential issue in Colorado isn’t the quality of the water supply, but rather lead soldering used prior to 1986 to connect pipes and fittings. A 1986 federal law banned the use of lead in plumbing going forward, but some Colorado homes and other buildings still have old pipes or fixtures containing lead.
How was testing conducted?
We collected water samples from water sources in our schools and sent them to outside agencies for testing. As of now, we have completed the testing in all of our schools and have taken the appropriate action where needed.
How did you decide which schools to test first?
We considered a variety of factors: the age of the building, the age of the students (elementary schools had a higher priority) and the backlog of testing services in the area of the school.
How do I know whether my child’s school has been tested and the results of those tests?
We posted the test results of all schools below.
How is lead measured?
Lead is measured by the number of parts per billion (ppb). For example, if you divided an 8 oz. glass of water into a billion drops, you would then test to see how many of those drops contained lead. The EPA strongly recommends that all water outlets in schools that provide water for drinking or cooking meet a standard of 20 ppb of lead or less. In Cherry Creek, we have set a standard of 15 ppb or less.
What action did the district take if lead was found?
First, if any of our tests showed results of higher than 15 ppb in water sources used for drinking, we immediately disconnected that source. Replacing faucets using non-lead solder is a standard, best practice and typically resolved the problem. We then re-tested the source to ensure that the fix was successful. If only a few sources were affected, we repaired them and then re-tested. If the number of sources inside the school was large enough to disrupt the day, then we disconnected the water to all of the drinking fountains and provided bottled water until the problem was fixed.
Do you expect to find lead in the water?
The age of some of our older buildings made it possible that some areas may have lead levels over 15 ppb. We have posted a chronological list of the year each of our schools were built on our website. It is important to remember that the district has provided maintenance and upgrades to all of its schools over the years with funds provided by successful bond issues. In many cases, pipes that were initially joined using soldering that contained lead had already been replaced.
Why is lead a concern?
Lead exposure is a health hazard; the EPA goal is zero lead in water. We took this action because it is important that the Cherry Creek School District provide a healthy environment for the safety and well-being of all its students and staff. You can learn more about how lead in the water can affect people’s health by downloading the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment FAQ on Lead in Drinking Water.
Is the Cherry Creek School District the only school district that tested its water for lead?
No. Denver Public Schools, Jefferson County Public Schools and Douglas County Public schools are among the large Metro Area school districts that have and are conducting tests in their schools. There also are other school districts across Colorado that are conducting the tests.
Find your school in the list below.