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UPDATE: Water Test Results Released

UPDATE: August 29, 2016

Medford School District Families:

I’m writing to update you on the status of water testing in our District.

As you may recall, we notified you last month when tests revealed lead levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action level in the majority of water fixtures at Jackson and Roosevelt Elementary Schools. Please remember that tests from 2011-2015 did not reveal elevated levels at either school.

After much work by our facilities department, we are pleased to announce that all fixtures passed tests at Jackson and Roosevelt this week, revealing lead levels well below the EPA action level. Test results from all of the other schools in our District also show fixtures testing below the EPA action level. All results are posted on our website.

It is difficult to pin-point the exact cause of the elevated levels at Jackson and Roosevelt in July, as tests are a snapshot in time. The city has replaced the meters at both schools and we have replaced several plumbing components. As a precautionary measure, we also replaced all of the fixtures (drinking fountains, faucets, etc.) at Jackson and Roosevelt with lead-free fixtures. We are continually replacing fixtures with lead-free ones at all of our schools when appropriate or necessary.

The water is now back on at both Jackson and Roosevelt Elementary School.

The Medford School District has been a leader in the State of Oregon, proactively testing for lead in the water for more than a decade. We will continue to be diligent in our testing procedures to protect the safety of students and staff, and we will continue to be transparent about our test results.

We thank you for your patience and understanding throughout this process and hope you have a good start to the new school year.

Sincerely,

Brian Shumate

Superintendent

UPDATE: August 4, 2016

Please check the following webpage for a full list of returned test and retest results: http://www.medford.k12.or.us/Page/3460. The District is still waiting on results from a number of tests and expects to have another update the week of August 8th. 

UPDATE: July 31, 2016

As you know, the issue of lead in drinking water is being discussed across the state and nation. The Medford School District has been a leader on this issue by proactively testing for lead in its water every year for more than a decade. If a water fixture (e.g., drinking fountain, kitchen sink) tests above or even near the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action level of .020 parts per billion, the District will close the fixture until the water tests at an acceptable level.

As part of our commitment to protect student and staff health, we began a more comprehensive test cycle this summer, testing nearly every fixture used for consumption at every school. We recently began receiving results from those tests and posting the results on our website hereThe majority of schools with returned results had all or most fixtures testing below the EPA action level.

On Friday evening, July 29, we received the test results for Jackson and Roosevelt. According to those test results, the majority of fixtures tested at each of those schools during the month of July tested above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action limit for lead. Those results were very unexpected, since the District has 17 previous test results at each of those schools taken between 2011 and 2015 that show no indicators of elevated lead levels.

Due to this new information, the drinking water will be shut off at both Jackson and Roosevelt Elementary Schools beginning on Monday for an undetermined amount of time. Signs will be posted advising that the drinking fountain or sink has been taken out of use until further notice. We will be supplying bottled water for students and staff currently using those schools in the Kids Unlimited summer school program and until the issue is resolved and the water at the fixtures in those schools once again tests at an acceptable level.

Because the test results were not received until the evening of July 29, we do not yet know the cause of the problem, but will not stop our work until we find and fix it. Testing updates and further notices to families will be provided once more is known.  Please be assured that student and staff safety is an ongoing priority for the Medford School District.  

We understand your concern about the potential health impacts of lead in drinking water. It’s important to note that there are many variables that can lead to a high test result. Test results are often a snapshot in time. If a drinking fountain has not been used for a while and water sits in the pipes, the water can absorb lead from the pipe surrounding it. The quality of our city’s water, the type and age of the fixture, and the building’s plumbing are all factors that can lead to a degree of uncertainty regarding where and when an elevated level may occur. If you’re concerned about your child’s health, contact your doctor. For more information about lead and its health impacts, visit the State of Oregon’s website at https://public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyEnvironments/HealthyNeighborhoods/LeadPoisoning/Pages/index.aspx.

If you have any questions about this issue before August 8th when principals return from summer break, please contact the Facilities Department at 541-842-3646. After August 8th, please contact your building principal.

Thank you for your patience and rest assured that we are doing everything we can to protect your child’s health and safety.

Sincerely,

Brian Shumate,

Superintendent 

Click the links below for school specific test results.

Jackson Elementary School

Roosevelt Elementary School

McLoughlin Middle School

Wilson Elementary School

Washington Elementary School


 

UPDATE: July 27, 2016

The Medford School District (MSD) continues to receive test results from independent, environmental testing laboratory, Nielsen Research Corporation. The MSD is testing for lead in the majority of drinking fixtures and sinks used for consumption in all schools.

Results for the vast majority of tested fixtures came in below the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended action level of 0.020. Any fixtures that tested above that level were immediately taken out of use and will be retested before being put back into use.

Click the links below for school specific test results.

Kennedy Elementary School

Ruch Community School

Griffin Creek Elementary School

Abraham Lincoln Elementary School

Lone Pine Elementary School

The remainder of the results will be posted on this site as they’re received

 


 

UPDATE: July 7, 2016

The Medford School District (MSD) has received its first batch of water test results from independent, environmental testing laboratory, Nielsen Research Corporation. MSD is testing for lead in the majority of drinking fixtures and sinks used for consumption in all schools.

Results from Jacksonville Elementary School, Howard Elementary School and Hoover Elementary School show all tested water fixtures below the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended action level of 0.020. One fixture at Jefferson Elementary School tested slightly above the EPA action level at .0204. MSD crews immediately shut down the drinking fountain and are investigating the cause of the elevated level. The drinking fountain will be re-tested once a solution is determined and only put back into use when it’s tested below the EPA action level.

Results from the remainder of schools are pending. They will be posted here.


 

Medford School District Taking Steps to Ensure Safe Drinking Water

District will test all drinking fixtures for lead this summer

June 15, 2016

The Medford School District will continue taking precautionary steps to ensure safe water supplies.

The District’s current water testing strategy has been in place since 2006 when voters passed a bond measure that funded testing of the vast majority of water fixtures in every school. The 2006 testing provided a baseline for current testing procedures.

While lead testing is not government mandated, the District has voluntarily funded it’s thorough testing program for more than a decade. The District’s current approach is a proactive one, designed to incrementally test multiple water sources at each school, every summer. This provides data to make informed decisions and adjustments as needed.

Additional testing is done in specific circumstances.  For example, if a construction project may have disturbed pipes, tests are conducted outside of the standard test cycle to confirm that the water supply has not been compromised.

In light of the recent developments in Portland, this summer, the District will take additional measures, testing every drinking source at every school. Test results will be shared on the District website.

Over the last several years, spot testing revealed minimal issues. If crews found lead levels near or beyond the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) acceptable limit, crews repaired or replaced the fixture in question.

Any new construction or repairs are made with lead-free components and the District is consistently taking advantage of opportunities to upgrade its plumbing.

The Medford School District is confident that its procedures are protecting the health and safety of all students and staff, which is an ongoing priority.