Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Superintendent's Important Water Quality Update Message

Water Quality Update

The Maynard SEPAC and individual parents have emailed me and suggested that I provide additional detailed information in the form of frequently asked questions and actual testing data.  I have worked collaboratively with the town leadership and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to gather this information for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
 Regarding the Water Testing at the Maynard Public Schools

1 Q.)  How often is the water tested?

1 A.)  The Public Water Supply tests the water quarterly for lead and copper.  In addition to the required testing, the School District participated in the voluntary LCCA Drinking Water Program through the MassDEP.

2 Q.)  Which schools are tested?

2 A.)  All water taps throughout the Green Meadow Elementary, Fowler Middle School, and Maynard High School were sampled for lead and copper. 

Initial water testing indicated that four water taps at the Green Meadow Elementary School and 11 water taps at the Fowler Middle School contained copper levels which exceeded the action levels set by the MassDEP.  Initial water testing also indicated that two water taps at the Fowler Middle School and one tap at the Maynard High School contained lead levels which exceeded the action levels set by the MassDEP.

The School District immediately notified the MassDEP of the results and worked together to create and implement the corrective action plan. All fountains which tested at action levels for lead and copper were taken out of service.  MassDEP advised implementing a flushing and water usage plan for any tap which the School District wanted to keep in service, and to permanently remove from service any taps which would not be used.  After flushing was completed over vacation week, 10 taps were retested for lead and copper.  All 10 re-sampled taps had lead and copper levels well below the action level, some even indicated ‘No Dose’ for lead and copper.  Eight other fountains which were not retested were permanently taken out of service.

Additional advanced precautions included the installation of bottled water throughout the Green Meadow Elementary School and Fowler Middle School while awaiting the results of the re-tested water taps.

After receiving the re-test results of the 10 identified water taps, MassDEP was notified and the decision was made to place the 10 water taps back in service.

The schools will continue to complete regular flushing of all in-service water taps to ensure that water is not allowed to rest in the fountains for extended periods of time.

The Massachusetts Action Level for lead in drinking water is 0.015 milligrams per liter (also known as parts per million).  The Massachusetts Action Level for copper in drinking water is 1.3 milligrams per liter. 

3 Q.)  Is there a long term plan to replace the pipes and fix the root causes or other mitigation plans?

3 A.)  We have implemented a sampling plan to conduct testing at outlets (faucets, water fountains, etc.).  The Public Water Supply will also continue to complete the regular quarterly testing. Through periodic reports, we will keep you informed as to the progress of our efforts.

4 Q.)  When was the last time the water was tested (i.e. How long has copper and lead been in the water supply)?

 4 A.)  Lead is not believed to be in our water source but plumbing and fixtures in our buildings may contain lead, resulting in an increase in the lead content in tap water.  Copper is also not believed to be in our water source but plumbing and fixtures in our buildings may contain copper, resulting in an increase in the copper content in tap water. The Public Water Supply tests four taps in the school quarterly. Previous test results indicated lead and copper levels below the action level set by the MassDEP.  This is the first comprehensive testing for lead and copper completed of all water tapes in each of the three schools and is a result of the School District’s efforts to participate in a voluntary program to provide safe and healthy drinking water to student and staff.

5 Q.)  Are preschool families in the student information system iPass and did they get the notice?

5 A.)  Yes our preschool families are in the student information system iPass and they did get the same notice that was sent out on the blog.

6 Q.)  How is it that a new building has these issues, were not all the taps and pipes replaced when the building was constructed?  These concerns seem pretty elementary that you would NOT put copper or lead piping or taps in a building where children live?

6 A.)  Our new Maynard High School building was built with all brand new materials.  It is not uncommon for copper pipes to be used for fresh water supplies in new construction.  The MassDEP has educated us that lead and copper generally enter drinking water from a building’s plumbing system.  They may be present in various parts of the plumbing system, such as piping, solder, and fixtures, where they can be picked up as water passes through the system.

In some cases, if there is low usage at a tap and the water sits in those fixtures or plumbing, excessive action levels will occur.  Regular flushing of the system will eliminate this from happening in low usage taps.

7 Q.)  Considering the serious health and development impacts of lead in particular, is there any discussion with the town or plan to screen students for elevated levels?

7A.) Marc Nascarella, Director of Toxicology at the Mass Department of Public Health (DPH), has informed us that the DPH are available to provide assistance to us during this process. Specifically answering questions from the public relating to health effects.

He explained that screening for lead is required by the commonwealth for children under the age of five.  This happens at their regular doctor’s visits and is available to older children as requested. He said this is typically addressed on an individual basis with parents one on one, as situations very.

Any parents who have additional questions regarding screening for lead to contact the Environmental Toxicology program at the Department of Public Health, (617) 624-5757.

8 Q.)  What detailed information can be given about the location and lead or copper levels can be provided?

8 A.)  For more detailed information on the locations and results of the water testing, you can go the the Maynard Public Schools Home page and see the link there or you can click directly on the following link:

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