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Lead water detected in drinking fountains at two Richmond schools

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Interim Superintendent Tommy Kranz re-enforced the school system's water safety Tuesday after water tests conducted August 31 by a teacher using grant funding found enough lead in two school water fountains to prompt RPS to close them.

"The water today is safe," Kranz said. "We took the fountains out of service, and for those two fountains we provided bottled water, but that was in the spirit of being proactive with it."

Kranz said a drinking fountain at Ginter Park Elementary contained between 0.5 and 3 parts per billion of lead.

A drinking fountain at George Mason Elementary contained 0.5 to 1.2 parts per billion of lead.

Those numbers fall well below the Environmental Protection Agency's lead "action level" of 15 parts per billion.

If a test reads higher than 15, the EPA recommends taking action to reduce the lead.

But, Kranz admits the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends lead levels no more than one part per billion.

"Is it higher than what was recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics? Yeah. But under all the regulatory guidelines they fall well within the acceptable guidelines," Kranz said.

But for one parent with three kids at Mason, the regulatory guidelines are not good enough.

"If the pediatrics say it should be lower it should be lower than that though," the mom said.

RPS will now conduct their own tests on the two fountains as well as other water sources in other schools throughout the school system.

Kranz said all results will be posted online.

While School Board member Jonathan Young awaits those results before passing judgment, he still believes kids should no longer go to school at Mason.

"Irrespective of what these most recent test results show, I think, in fact, I know there enough other problems to merit relocation to another facility," Young said.