Palatine District 15 releases water testing results

An extensive test of the water sources at all 21 of Palatine Township Elementary School District 15's buildings found that four sources had levels of lead higher than the EPA recommended standard.

Superintendent Scott Thompson said Wednesday the four sources were immediately shut down so the lead problems could be remediated. After district staff addressed the problems, the testing company came back and retested the water sources and found that the problem had been fixed in three of the sources.

The fourth source lacked enough water pressure for the second test to be conducted.

"That particular source of water remains out of service," Thompson said Wednesday night at the district board meeting. "But as soon as we figure out the pressure problem, we'll have them come back and test it."

The testing was conducted over winter break. In December, Thompson said they decided to conduct the testing because of concerns that came from the ongoing drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

The work is a significant step up from the district's recent testing efforts. A Daily Herald report in December found that since 2013, the district only paid for four tests - all at Lincoln Elementary School in Palatine.

Thompson noted that while the district only paid for four tests at Lincoln Elementary, the village of Palatine also performs routine water quality testing at district buildings. He did not know what the village tested for or the results of those tests.

The district's testing was completed before a state law mandating that all schools test drinking water for lead by 2018 was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Jan. 16.

The bill was signed after a Daily Herald investigation revealed 15 percent of the 5,112 water samples taken from 319 suburban schools contained a measurable amount of lead. But 325 suburban schools had done no testing for lead in water.

The full water test results were published to the school district's website in January.

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