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News from 2019-2020

Posted: November 19, 2019

APS Continues to Remedy Elevated Lead Levels in Water

The district tested middle school fixtures, repairing or replacing all that tested above the recommended level.

Under a federally funded program sponsored by the state health and environment departments, APS took water samples at middle schools this fall and tested them for lead. The district conducted similar testing of elementary schools over the spring and summer.

Middle Schools 

  • Sampling
    APS collected 245 samples from 238 fixtures at 22 middle schools as well as New Futures High School and the early childhood program at Eldorado High School. The samples came from schools built before 1990. In 1986, federal laws were changed to limit the use of lead in pipes to better protect the water supply. 
  • Results
    Results from 97 percent of all fixtures screened showed levels below the EPA Action Level of 0.015 mg/L. Two schools, John Adams and McKinley, had a least one sample at or above 0.015 mg/L. 
  • Corrective Action
    Corrective action was taken, such as installing lead filters and replacing fixtures. Locations were retested and showed that levels had been reduced to below the EPA Action Level of 0.015 mg/L. One water fountain in a teacher's lounge at John Adams was eliminated due to its location and infrequent use.

Elementary Schools

  • Sampling
    APS collected 1,004 samples from 870 fixtures at 69 elementary schools.
  • Results
    Results from 96 percent of all fixtures screened showed levels below the EPA Action Level of 0.015 mg/L. Twenty-three (23) schools had a least one sample at or above 0.015 mg/L. These schools are Alameda, Alvarado, Apache, Arroyo Del Oso, Barcelona, Bellehaven, Dennis Chavez, East San Jose, Hawthorne, Hodgin, Inez, Lavaland, Lew Wallace, Longfellow, Lowell, Mary Ann Binford, Matheson Park, Mission Ave., Monte Vista, Painted Sky, Reginald Chavez, San Antonito, and Zia.
  • Corrective Action
    Corrective action was taken, and, in most cases, the fixtures were re-tested to show the levels had been reduced to < 0.015 mg/L. In some cases, fixtures were eliminated or were designated for handwashing only.

APS was one of a handful of school districts in the state to volunteer for the water-testing program through the New Mexico Environment Department and the New Mexico Department of Health. Schools are not required to test for lead in water, but APS officials felt it was in the public’s best interest to deal with this potential health risk.

APS continues to work closely with the state Environment Department and the Department of Health. The district began testing fixtures at older middle schools and high schools that have early childhood programs starting in August.   

APS also continues to address brown water problems at a few of its older schools, which is not a health hazard like lead is but can be unpalatable.

While testing was free through the federal grant, all repairs are paid for by the district. APS plans to go to voters in the fall to ask for a continuation of a property tax that will help cover such costs. The tax rate would remain the same.

 Test Result Data