Pueblo City Schools disables or repairs nearly 50 water fountains due to lead

Pueblo City Schools disables nearly 50 water fountains due to lead

PUEBLO, Colo. - Pueblo District 60 just finished a more than a year-long testing cycle in all 30 of its schools to disable and fix water sources that had high levels of lead.

We uncovered nine different schools that had a combined total of nearly 50 water fountains that needed replacements or new filtration systems because lead levels tested well over the safe limit.

Below, is the timeline of schools that required changes:

  • In January, Heroes Academy disabled four.
  • In February, Sunset Park Elementary disabled six, Paragon Learning Center disabled four, and Highland Park Elementary disabled two.
  • In April, Pueblo Academy of Arts had five fountains or water lines replaced; Roncalli Stem Academy replaced five, and there was one replaced at Heaton Middle School.
  • In July, South high school had seven filtration systems added.

But East high topped the list with the 15 filtration systems added recently in June.

"It's very concerning, very scary," said Tom Ornelas, who had children attend these schools before this testing started.

The report indicates the levels were most notably high in places like the kitchen, cafeteria, auditorium, and even the classrooms. 

The Environmental Protection Agency states lead levels shouldn't exceed 15 ppb. But the water in some those locations tested at 60 ppb,  82 ppb, or even as high as 95 ppb.

The CDC also states lead poisoning can affect the entire body, and if consumed in a high enough dose can be deadly.

According to the district, testing started at the beginning of last school year. Pueblo Water not only facilitated the testing, but also funded it.

District 60 spokesperson Dalton Sprouse said the Flint water crisis of 2014 prompted the testing. 

"We obviously being one of the largest school districts in the state, definitely wanted to be proactive as well," Sprouse said.

Right now, schools nationwide are not mandated to test for lead in drinking water, despite recommendations from the EPA.

"Who knows what it will do to them, how it will affect them," said Ornelas.

For more information on the testing results, click here.

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