October 15, 2019
Dorset News Network
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Letter from the Superintendent: Vermont ACT 66 Lead Water Testing Policy
BRSU Parents, Guardians and Staff:
Earlier this spring, the State of Vermont enacted Act 66. This law requires all Vermont school districts, supervisory unions, independent schools and child care providers to test their drinking and cooking water for lead. If lead is found in an amount at or above the action level of 4 parts per billion (ppb), the school or child care provider must immediately take the fixture out of service and take steps to eliminate or reduce the amount of lead to below 4 ppb. The intent of the law is to protect children, students, and staff from lead in these settings.
The lead testing for all six BRSU schools are being conducted in October over the following schedule:
Week of October 7: Currier Elementary, Flood Brook School, and The Dorset School.
Week of October 14: Manchester Elementary Middle School (MEMS), Mettawee Community School, and Sunderland Elementary.
The BRSU testing will follow strict state guidelines. Water samples will be collected from all taps that are used for drinking and cooking and sent to the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory for analysis. Due to the volume of statewide testing, we understand it may take several weeks to receive the results. We will monitor this closely.
As soon as the BRSU schools receive the results, we will notify you of the findings. Be assured that any BRSU school water source that does not meet the state standard will be immediately taken out of service until a remedy is found, retested, and determined to be compliant. Note that the state will also post results online10 days after informing the schools.
The State of Vermont’s acceptable lead standard of below 4 ppb makes a strong statement for the protection of our children. The federal government, for example, allows for a higher level of lead in bottled water, with a standard of 5 ppb. We are taking extra care to keep our children safe.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call our BRSU office at 802-362-2452. See below for a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS).
Jackie Wilson, Superintendent, Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Why is lead a concern?
Lead poisoning can slow down a child’s growth, development, and learning and can cause behavioral problems. Children absorb lead more easily than adults, so they are at a higher risk for lead poisoning.
How does lead get into drinking water?
Lead rarely occurs naturally in water supplies. However, lead can get into drinking water through contact with lead pipes, plumbing fixtures and solder.
What will happen if there is lead in the drinking water at the facility?
Any tap that tests at or above the action level will be taken out of use for consumption. Once we fix the issue, and follow-up testing shows the lead level is at or below the action level, the tap can be used again.
How do children come in contact with lead?
Exposure to lead is a public health concern in Vermont. Potential sources include dust from deteriorated lead-based paint and products, including toys, keys, jewelry, pottery, dishes, imported candy and foods, and antique, vintage or salvaged goods. Lead can also be found in contaminated soil and old plumbing pipes and fixtures. While a major source of lead poisoning in Vermont children is paint, the lead in plumbing pipes and fixtures can add to a person’s overall lead exposure.
Can I test the water in my home for lead?
Yes. To test your home for lead in drinking water, contact the Health Department Laboratory to order a $12 first draw lead test kit. Call 802-338-4736 or 800-660-9997 (toll free in Vermont).
To learn more about lead hazards and lead poisoning prevention, visit healthvermont.gov/lead