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Media Contact: Mike Bordogna, County Manager, 970.728.3844, email@example.comGrace Franklin, Public Health Director, 970.728.4289, firstname.lastname@example.org
(March 14, 2023) – San Miguel County, CO --- In an effort to reduce lead exposure in young children, Colorado’s public health officials have initiated lead testing programs in schools across the state. In San Miguel County, Telluride and Norwood schools and child care facilities have conducted tests that have revealed low, yet actionable levels of lead in some taps that may be used for drinking or preparing food. Steps are already underway to address the few affected taps.
Lead is a naturally occurring metal that is especially harmful to young children. Typically old or corroded lead plumbing or old brass fixtures can contribute to increased lead levels in drinking water. Testing is the only way to know whether there is lead in water sources. Lead is associated with negative health effects that are especially harmful to young children. Recent state legislation aims to reduce these risks by providing free lead testing, technical assistance, and mitigation guidance if necessary.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) has developed two programs to test for lead in drinking water at schools and child care facilities - the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) & Test & Fix Water for Kids program. Both programs provide support to schools and childcare facilities to ensure lead testing in these facilities are completed by May 31, 2023.
Six facilities are testing through the WIIN program and several other schools have begun the testing process through the Test and Fix Water for Kids program. As of this week, test results have confirmed that ten water sources in the Norwood School District and three water sources in the Telluride School District registered test results at the lead action level.
“With current state initiatives and funding, this is a great time to improve school facilities,” Public Health Director Grace Franklin states. “Our county schools and child care facilitates wasted no time in taking the necessary measures to protect the health of the children they serve.”
Though no level of lead is considered safe in drinking water, the lead action level for testing drinking water in schools/child care facilities is five parts per billion (ppb). When lead is found at or above five parts per billion (ppb), the fixture is shut off while a more long term corrective action is underway. Affected schools have taken these steps and informed families of students in attendance. Schools will work with Public Health in next steps and keep families informed of actions being taken to come into compliance.
To view lead test results visit the WIIN program and Test and Fix Water for Kids program websites.
San Miguel County Water Quality page