Published in the September 29, 2016 edition.
WAKEFIELD — After higher than acceptable levels of lead were found in some Boston schools last year, the town performed its own tests of drinking fountains in Wakefield’s educational facilities.
Following is a statement from Supt. of Schools Dr. Kim Smith.
“During a recent water sampling protocol performed by the Town of Wakefield DPW Water Division, as part of a proactive program implemented by the Department of Public Works, one of the Wakefield Memorial High School water fountains tested had lead level results that slightly exceed the MassDEP action level for lead in drinking water.
Following a 30-second flush test, the same fountain then presented results well within normal parameters. This may indicate that the issue can be corrected with replacement of some adjacent fixtures and/or plumbing. The DPW Buildings and Water Division are currently reviewing school plumbing plans.
1. With receipt of these results, we have closed this drinking fountain until our team can identify the exact source of the problem and replace fixtures as needed. We will not reopen this fountain until we confirm an acceptable action level with the support of MWRA and/or MassDEP. Please note that all other fountains and sinks that were tested in the same area, as well as in other testing locations in the school, yielded results within normal limits.
2. The Wakefield Public Schools, in partnership with the Town of Wakefield DPW Water Division, will partner with the MWRA and MassDEP to proactively complete testing of all drinking fountains in all district schools. This testing will be performed to verify that all fixtures are compliant with MassDEP standards and to identify and eliminate any fixture found not meeting standards.
3. The Superintendent will provide staff, students and parents with periodic reports to keep the community informed of our progress.
It is important to know that our DPW Water Division regularly tests sampling points in all district schools in accordance with MassDEP lead testing requirements. All of these tests until this one have returned at acceptable action levels.
Water pipes leading into and throughout our schools are copper, so any source of lead contamination would come from fixtures and soldering, not unlike many of our homes.
As a result of the testing plan we are implementing, we should be able to identify any issues that arise and replace fixtures as needed.
Water pressure at Galvin
We are currently experiencing inconsistent running water in some student bathroom sinks at the Galvin Middle School. The problem seems to be associated with high or spiking water pressure that is triggering a shut-off mechanism in these sinks.
Director of Facilities, Maria Serrao, and the Town of Wakefield DPW are working together to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. Until all sinks are back on line, students in affected areas will use sinks in their respective grade level project room, which are supplied with soap and paper towels. As an additional measure, we are outfitting all bathrooms with hand sanitizer.
If you have any specific questions, please contact Kim Smith, Superintendent of Schools, or Maria Serrao, Director of Facilities and Transportation, at 781-246-6400.