On Friday, December 8, District 97 will begin performing water quality testing in our eight elementary schools with the assistance of Jacob & Hefner Associates (JHA). This testing will be carried out in accordance with Senate Bill 0550, which requires all schools (Pre-K through fifth grade) to test for lead in water that is used for drinking and cooking. Since the new law applies specifically to our elementary schools, and because the testing we did at Brooks and Julian last year yielded no results above the Environmental Protection Agency's action level, we will not be conducting testing in our middle schools this year.
An environmental scientist from JHA will collect the samples from the water sources in our schools. Those samples will then be sent to an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) accredited laboratory for analysis, which should take approximately five to seven business days to complete. Once JHA receives the results from the IEPA, it will provide us with a formal report that will include a summary of its findings and recommended actions if needed. The company will also prepare and submit a report to the Illinois Department of Public Health within seven days of receiving the results.
As was the case with the testing we conducted last year, we will take whatever steps are necessary following the receipt of the results to ensure the continued health and safety of our students, staff members and visitors to our schools. These steps may include performing additional testing to assess the accuracy of the initial readings and determining whether the results were tied to a potential issue with the fixture (e.g., sink, drinking fountain, etc.) or the actual water source. They may also include restesting and replacing fixtures.
Below are the dates we will be testing at our elementary schools. We will keep the community updated on the status and results of this process. In the meantime, people can email [email protected] if they have any questions.