TACOMA, Wash. -- Two more schools in Tacoma have tested positive for higher-than-acceptable limits for lead in the drinking water. There is now a total of 13 schools that will be handing out bottled water to students.
The district is in the process of testing water and replacing faucet fixtures it believes are contributing to the lead in the water, but parents are still worried.
Jeff Dixon has his fourth-grader, Justin, take his own bottle of water to school at Tacoma Public School’s Whittier Elementary, one of the schools identified as having higher-than-acceptable limit for lead.
“So the immediate concern is how bad is it?" said Dixon. “How quickly can we get it fixed and how long has this been going on.”
They are concerns the district is working to address, first by replacing faucets linked to the lead.
“This is the example of the immediate action that we're taking whenever we find a fixture within a school over the 15 parts per billion,” said Alicia Lawver, a spokesperson for Tacoma Public Schools.
On Thursday night, the school district briefed the school board on their plan to test water in 22 elementary schools and pledged to get to the bottom of how the problem went undetected for so long.
“We have an active investigation going on to determine how we got to this point,” said Dan Voelpel, the Tacoma Public Schools public information officer, as he addressed the school board. “We are conducting ongoing testing, continuously evaluating results and making necessary repairs.”
In the meantime, the district said it will continue passing out bottled water to the schools that tested positive for lead and prepare meals off-site. They plan to retest all those schools by May 15.
According to Tacoma Public Schools, these are the schools with drinking water restrictions:
Schools without drinking water restrictions: