Lead found in drinking water at some St. Louis public schools

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - Lead is flowing through some faucets and water fountains in St. Louis City school buildings according to preliminary tests.

The St. Louis Public School District is now taking steps to make sure the drinking water in all its schools will be safe for students.

According to Roger CayCe, Deputy Superintendent of Operations with St. Louis Public Schools, the district began testing the water over the summer months and has since shut off drinking fountains and sinks that tested positive for lead.

CayCe said of the 74 school buildings tested—with a total of 744 water sources—preliminary data shows a total of 82 sources in 30 school buildings have lead levels higher than 10 parts per billion.

The Environmental Protection Agency requires action be taken if lead levels exceed 15 parts per billion. StLPS is holding itself at a higher standard and making improvements now. Of those 30 buildings, 12 are providing bottled water to students and staff due to the location of a closed fountain or the limited number of working drinking fountains available in that building.

“I'm surprised, because I really thought it would be more,” CayCe said. “These are old buildings and lead, people have to understand that use of lead in buildings was allowed up until the 80s.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, no amount of lead in the body is safe and it could lead to learning disabilities.

“Once we investigate and take action, it could be replace a faucet; then the next step is that water has to be retested,” CayCe said.

To be clear, the school district doesn't think the lead is coming from St. Louis city water, it believes it's from the old pipes and faucets in its schools.

Final testing results will be released on August 25th.

The following schools had at least one test sample indicate a lead level in excess of 10 parts per billion and are providing bottled water to students:

Beaumont High School
Carver Elementary School
Clay Elementary School
Fanning Middle School
Mann Elementary School
Nahed Chapman New American Academy
Northwest Law Academy High School
Patrick Henry Downtown Academy
Peabody Elementary
Shenandoah Elementary School
Sigel Elementary School
Sumner High School

The following schools had at least on test sample indicate a lead level in excess of 10 parts per billion but have enough accessible water sources and are not providing bottled water:

AESM Middle School
Busch Middle School
Carr Lane Middle School
Clyde C. Miller High School
Compton-Drew Middle School
Cote Brilliante Elementary School
Galludet
Gateway STEM High School
Gateway Middle School
Herzog Elementary School
Hickey Elementary School
Laclede Elementary School
Langston Middle School
Long Middle School
Meramec Elementary School
Oak Hill Elementary School
Roosevelt High School
Vashon High School