Palatine District 15 testing water in all of its schools
While Palatine Township Elementary School District 15 students are away for winter break this week and next, contractors are performing extensive testing to make sure their water is safe.
The work is a significant step up from the district's recent testing efforts. A Daily Herald report earlier this month found that since 2013 the district only paid for four tests -- all at Lincoln Elementary School in Palatine, just one of its 20 buildings.
Superintendent Scott Thompson said the district will test drinking fountains, kitchens, nurses' offices and other areas that contractors think should be examined, in all of its facilities.
"The concern was raised by what happened in Flint," said Thompson, referring to the ongoing drinking water crisis in the Michigan city. "We wanted to make sure none of the water coming out of our drinking fountains had amounts of lead above what the (federal) standards are."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "suggests" schools test all water outlets such as faucets and fountains and shut off any that produce a sample containing lead above 20 parts per billion.
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 Tuesday what the village tested for or the results of those tests.
Thompson expects to publicly release the results of the testing sometime in mid- to late January. The district will use the results to determine where they need to replace fixtures, if they do at all, he added.
District 15 is not alone performing little to no testing of its water in recent years. A Daily Herald study found that 31 schools districts have done no testing since 2013, and 22 school districts, including District 15, performed "minimal" testing, meaning they'd done some testing at some schools.