MISSOULA — Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) is reporting unsafe levels of lead in schools across the district.
An email sent to parents last week, obtained by MTN News, said all water stations found to exceed the federal limit of 5 parts per billion have been shut down.
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The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) requires school districts to test for lead at least every three years. Almost every school tested reported some level of lead found in the water, according to data released in the email.
MCPS said in the email that the water stations that tested above the limit will be closed until they can be replaced or a filter is installed.
The email further said to reach out to your doctor if you have concerns about your child’s safety, saying, "we will continue to keep you informed of important information and new developments as we work to improve our school water systems."
For a full list of schools and results, click here.
Read the full letter from MCPS below:
Missoula County Public Schools recently tested the water stations in our schools and this week we received some test results showing levels of lead above the federal limit at a few locations. We immediately shut down all water stations found to exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lead limit of 5 parts per billion (ppb).
MCPS has been testing its water for several years on a voluntary basis, because we believe this information is important for the health of our school communities. In 2020, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services created a new rule requiring schools to test for lead at least every three years. A full description of the sampling process and requirements for schools can be found on the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ [deq.mt.gov]) website.
MCPS collected samples in mid-February and we received results for your school on March 22. We took immediate action to shut down any stations that tested above 5 ppb. The stations with test results above 5 ppb will remain closed until they can be replaced or a filter installed, and then re-tested. In the meantime, signs will be posted reminding staff and students not to drink from these stations. We will also supply extra water bottle fill stations in the hallways if necessary.
A full list of schools and results can be found at the link below.
Here is some basic information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Lead in Drinking Water: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water [epa.gov]
Here is a link to more information about Montana’s Lead Reduction in School Drinking Water Rule: https://deq.mt.gov/water/Programs/dw [deq.mt.gov].
If you have general questions about lead in local water systems, please contact the Missoula Valley Water Quality District of the Missoula City-County Health Department at 406-258-4890.
If you have any health concerns about your individual student, please consult your family health care provider.
We will continue to keep you informed of important information and new developments as we work to improve our school water systems.
Missoula County Public Schools