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School Board Hears Lead Testing Update

Shane Reed, facilities director for the Wolf Point School District, provided the school board with an update of the lead testing process during the board’s meeting on Monday, Aug. 9.

Reed explained that the testing isn’t for lead in the water but rather lead in fixtures DEQ has taken over this program and is in charge of testing throughout Montana’s schools.

He said schools in the state that have gone through the process have been found to have less than 10 percent of problems. Reed said more than 200 schools in Montana still haven’t started the process yet.

Reed said there are four major steps to complete before sampling can begin. Those four steps include: 1. A number is issued from the DEQ for each facility. A plumbing history form is complete which includes general school information and the history of school plumbing.

2. A plumbing inventory form documents all the water fixtures that are on the campus. Each fixture is given a number. If it’s determined a child can get access to fixtures or if fixtures can be used in food prep, the make and model are recorded.

3. Sample locations are determined where water will be taken for testing. All drinking fountains and food prep sinks are mandatory.

4. A school building floor plan document needs to be prepared.

Once the four steps are completed, the information is submitted on the DEQ website and sampling can begin.

Wolf Point’s samples will be sent to a lab in Billings. DEQ will get results and then be in contact with the school.

Reed said he met with a representative from DEQ during a conference in Lewistown on July 13. “I took everything I had compiled at that time. He stated I was on track and was way ahead of most of the schools in the state as a lot of them haven’t even started yet. He gave me a few pointers on how to proceed on what I had left to do and said to call him anytime I had a question,” Reed said.

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