APS making changes after traces of lead detected at 12 schools

Albuquerque Public Schools has found high levels of lead in sinks and water fountains at a dozen of its schools. The district announced Wednesday that it has already taken steps to address the problem. 

While the numbers may be alarming to parents since kids have been drinking from some of the fountains, the district is not calling the situation a crisis. Samples were taken from the 69 elementary schools built before 1990.

“What’s happening is not in response to something…there was no incident, there was no raised concern, this was a proactive decision,” said Scott Elder with APS.

Twelve schools came back with “actionable levels of lead” meaning above the federal limit of .015 milligrams per liter. The testing was done through a state-sponsored program with the health and environment departments. 

The water came back clean, but about 40 fixtures did not. East San Jose Elementary had sinks with the highest levels of lead at .45, thirty times the acceptable level. Alameda Elementary had a level of .078 and Mary Ann Binford also had sinks test with concerning levels of lead. 

After the tests came back, all the fixtures were replaced.

Alvarado was the only elementary school with actionable levels of lead in a water fountain. APS replaced it immediately. The Water Utility Authority believes the district’s old pipes on those campuses are the cause of the higher levels of lead. It’s working with APS on a replacement plan. 

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