Elevated Lead Levels Found at Peebles School in Bourne



BOURNE – The water fountains in the first grade classrooms at Peebles Elementary School were shut down last week after test results showed elevated lead levels.

The tests were conducted last month by the Department of Environmental Protection and were funded through grant money from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. The testing is an effort statewide following the recent water contamination issues in Flint, Michigan.

Superintendent Steven Lamarche said the fountains were shut off immediately after the results came in Wednesday and parents were notified by email Thursday.

“We believe it’s in the plumbing,” Lamarche said. “We believe it’s in fixtures of the faucet so we had to take some remedial action right away.”

The elevated levels were found in the first grade wing in the lower level of the school.

Signs are posted on the sinks in the effected classrooms that water is to only be used for handwashing.

Lamarche said there should not be any long-term effects from the elevated lead levels.

“The lead has to be like a 24 hour consumption. It has to be from all different areas of one child’s life,” he said. “Not one intermittent source.”

Other school districts across Cape Cod are participating in school water testing for lead and copper and include Barnstable, Bourne, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional, Sandwich, Provincetown, Truro Central School and Sturgis Charter Public School. The Martha’s Vineyard school district is also testing water.

The lead levels are just another issue for the school built in 1953. Town meeting members approved building a new school to replace the aging facility and the initiative will go before voters next month.

“It just continues to be another indicator that the usefulness of this building is long past,” Lamarche said. “But if the community chooses on December 6 not to support a new construction that means we will have to get into this building and not only address some of the infrastructure around the walls that are separating from the wooden studs but also now we are going to have to get into some plumbing.”

Lamarche said the school could be a “money pit” for the town.

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