KALISPELL — The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently changed the laws on water testing in schools across Montana, and now it must be done every three years.
All ten schools in the Kalispell Public School District have tested positive for some amount of lead in the water.
Currently, the schools are blocking off and adding purifiers to fixtures that tested positive for lead, “a bandaid approach,” according to KPS Superintendent Micah Hill.
The district has applied for a grant up to $2 million through the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) to aid in mitigation strategies in four schools, to begin with.
The estimated total cost is $2.6 million, which the school district must pay half of. If they do not receive the grant, they will slowly add more permanent fixes with funds from the school district.
“We're just going to keep plugging away at it. You know, that would help us solve problems. At least at four of our sites right away,” said Hill.
The schools they will begin fixing with the grant are Flathead High School, Glacier High School, Hedges Elementary School and Elrod Elementary School.
Some of the mitigation strategies include adding water filter systems or completely abandoning fixtures.
All forms of mitigation are expensive and time consuming and must be completed in a certain time frame.