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49 Antietam St, Devens, MA 01434    (978) 772-3293    (978) 772-3295
Feb
13

Water Quality @ Parker

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Dear Parents/Guardians:

The Francis Parker Charter School has always had health and safety of our students and staff as our top priority. This letter provides information about our routine water quality monitoring practices, recent additional testing, and related remediation efforts.

MassDevelopment tests the water supply coming into the building from the street. Recent tests have shown that supply water is within range for lead, copper, and other contaminants after the MacPherson and Shabokin wells were replaced to correct for the PFAS (per‐and polyfluoralkyl substances), which is the reason it is no longer necessary for Parker to use bottled water. See Devens Community Services for more information on Devens water testing.

In addition to the sampling completed by MassDevelopment for source water, guided by regulations, our standard practice is to have our on-site water tested by for lead, copper, and other contaminants every three years.

The drinking water testing sampled:

  • All drinking fountains, staff lounge sink and nurse office sink
  • Kitchen faucets where food is in contact with water

Each location was sampled twice to ensure compliance with the Lead Contamination Control Act (LCCA). The “primary” capture tests the water sitting in the fixtures over night while the “flush” capture tests the waster after the water has been running for 30 seconds, thus testing water that is deeper in the plumbing lines. While we are pleased to report that most water tap tests results were within the acceptable range, three tested locations had lead levels that exceed the Massachusetts Action Level for lead in drinking water at schools and early education and childcare facilities. (See sampling results.) The Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for lead is zero in Massachusetts, while the EPA lists actionable lead levels in drinking water to be over 0.015 milligrams per liter (also known as parts per million). Our immediate response to learning about the actionable locations was to remove them from service until appropriate remediation steps could be taken. Our levels on the locations below, exceeded the Massachusetts levels, but not the EPA levels.

Lead is not believed to be in our water source (coming in from the street) but plumbing and fixtures in our buildings may contain lead, resulting in an increase in the lead content in tap water. Exposure to lead is a concern because lead is a toxic metal that has a range of adverse health effects.

Here are the test results from the three locations where samples outside the acceptable range were collected on January 30, 2020:

Location

Result – Initial Test

Kitchen Faucet # 2 Cold Primary

.014 lead result in mg/L

Kitchen Faucet # 3 Cold Primary

.003 lead result in mg/L

Tilt Skillet Primary

.003 lead result in mg/L

 

 

 

 

The Parker School took these results very seriously and moved immediately to safeguard the health of the students, faculty and staff. The following information describes steps we are taking to address the issue of lead in the water.

The School’s Response:

  • We immediately removed from service all taps with lead over the Action Level.
  • Remediation steps in the two kitchen taps and tilt skillet
    • We began daily flushing procedure and maintain a flushing log, as the “primary” capture only showed elevate levels and the “flush” capture was at acceptable levels. The flushing process safeguards against lead and copper exposure from drinking water in the school at outlets that are found to be above the Action Levels.
    • We have purchased new fittings and will be installing those fitting ASAP.
    • We will retest after the fittings are installed and will update you with our results.

We will continue to monitor water quality throughout our building in the weeks and months ahead and will update you with our results. If you have further questions about this, please contact me at ext. 113 or mmckenna@theparkerschool.org.

A Reminder: The water system at the school is not unlike water systems found in other buildings. Older plumbing systems and fixtures, especially, can contain lead pipes or solder that can allow lead to enter tap water. Plumbing systems also contain copper. If you have questions about lead or copper in your home’s water supply, and are using a private well, you can have your water tested. If you are receiving water from a public water system (i.e., if you pay a water bill) you can call your local water department for information or check the Consumer Confidence Report sent out by the public water supplier annually.

Sincerely,

mm_sig.png 

Michelle McKenna
Business Manager

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