Water quality pilot program seeks to lower lead levels to 1ppb
The PPS Water Quality Program successfully replaced all the common area drinking water fixtures in the district and brought the majority of those faucets back on. However. several schools still have a large number of drinking fixtures that test above the state-mandated action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) for lead due to suspected problems with the pipes in the walls. These fixtures remain off and will now require extensive in-the-wall partial pipe replacement costing several million dollars with no guarantee of success. At the same time there is also a growing movement on both the state and national level to reduce the lead levels even further.
An innovative program that reduces lead and save money
To proactively address this issue, the Water Quality Team in the Office of School Modernization is conducting a pilot study in six schools that could potentially lower bond capital costs while substantially lowering lead levels in our schools’ drinking water to around 1ppb. The program is something no other school district in Oregon is doing!
Six Schools Selected for the pilot program
The district plans to test the pilot program in one high school, two middle schools and three elementary schools. The schools were selected based on having at least 15 drinking fixtures that still tested above 15 ppb for lead after their fixtures were replaced. Those schools are Arleta, Duniway, Jefferson, Llewellyn, Rigler and Robert Gray. Find the test results for each pilot program school here.
Drinking Water Stations with advanced lead cleaning filters
The plan is to install a limited number of strategically located drinking water stations (DWS) in six PPS schools. Each station would be fitted with a highly effective lead filter providing filtered water to a bottle filler and one or more bubblers. This approach could substantially reduce the number of drinking fixtures in each school while potentially reducing the lead levels to below one ppb. The existing drinking water fixtures in the common areas and classrooms of the six schools would be made non-accessible during the pilot testing.
Filter performance will be rigorously monitored/Results available online
Filter performance will be rigorously monitored during the pilot study, evaluating lead levels and estimating filter maintenance costs. Testing will be done every week at first then transitioning to every two weeks after that. Those test results can be found here. These high efficiency filters are designed to last long enough to provide an elementary school with 425 students and staff nearly two, twenty-ounce bottles of water per person, per day during the course of an entire school year.
Pilot Program is scheduled to last six months to a year
Currently the program is scheduled to take place from the summer 2019 to January of 2020. This will allow us to calculate annual maintenance costs. If Drinking Water Station performance is still acceptable at the end of this period, we will likely continue the program at the six schools. If this pilot project proves successful overall, we will look at expanding to all PPS schools.
Pilot School Test Results
The drinking water station filters are tested frequently to insure safety and performance. Quick links to results can be found by clicking on the school name:
Pilot Water Quality program FAQs
What is the Pilot Water Quality Program?
The plan is to place 35 specially designed and engineered Drinking Water Stations (DWS) in six schools over the summer with a goal of reducing lead levels to as low as 1 part per billion (ppb). These drinking fixtures include state-of-the art filters that can make dramatic reductions in the lead content of drinking water. These highly effective filters have been carefully selected to maximize lead reduction while minimizing maintainance costs.
PPS will test the water on a weekly basis to ensure the DWS are working correctly. If the program proves successful, PPS will expand the program to more schools. We believe this will allow us to dramatically reduce lead levels while lowering costs to PPS.