Hillsborough schools testing all water supplies for lead

Image 1 of 3

The Hillsborough County School district is taking on a daunting task -- testing the lead levels in the water supplies in schools.

“When you look across 270 schools across the district and 1,000-square-mile county, we're probably going to take about 9,000 water samples and testing them,” said district spokesperson Grayson Kamm.

Officials say they're responding to ongoing water quality concerns across the country.      

“This isn't required by any law. This is something where we've made that commitment to students and staff to get out in front of this,” Kamm said.

So far, only about 50 schools have been tested. The results are being posted on the district's website.  Mitchell Elementary's kitchen hand-sink was reported to have lead levels at 224 parts-per-billion. 

The district's standard is 15 parts-per-billion.

A sink at Smith Middle showed 217 parts-per-billion.

A fountain at Bloomingdale High was at 18 parts-per-billion.

“If something tests above our guideline, we shut it off, block it off, and don't put it back in service until we fix the problem and retest it,” Kamm stated. “So far, it’s been a matter of replacing a water fountain, taking out a sink and replacing it. But we know that if there's a larger problem the fix is going to be expensive."

Letters are being sent home informing parents of the work.

“We've started testing primarily our older schools and will move generally towards the newer schools,” Kamm said.

The district hopes to have the testing completed by the end of 2019. 

LINK: Full list of impacted Hillsborough County schools