VB school division outlines more steps taken with lead issues in school water sources

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Nearly one year after discovering elevated lead levels in drinking water at some schools, the Virginia Beach school division is still working to make sure the facilities are safe for students and staff.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Virginia Beach School Board was updated on progress about fixing and preventing lead in water supplies at some area schools.

In November 2019, VBCPS discovered elevated lead levels in drinking and food preparation water sources at 27 schools.

New state legislation that went into effect in July makes new requirements for schools, including:

  • Each school board must have a plan to test and remedy certain potable water sources so they’re consistent with guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Health.
  • Each school board must submit a testing plan to send results to the Department of Health
  • School boards must notify students’ families if tests show elevated lead levels over 10 parts per billion.

Since an update in January on the school’s effort to fix the lead issues in the water, several other measures have been taken.

Virginia Beach schools have created a draft policy and plan on lead in the water.

They are also flushing water pipes on a schedule with various information on testing priority, when tests are planned, and the corrective status.

VBCPS plans to test 20% of pre-2014 buildings each year. Due to age, this year’s tests will include: Salem ES, Salem MS, Ocean Lakes ES, Red Mill ES, Tallwood ES, Salem HS, Glenwood ES, Glenwood Bus Garage, Strawbridge ES, Landstown MS, Tallwood HS, Corpoate Landing ES, Landstown ES, Larkspur MS, Ocean Lakes HS, Christopher Farms ES, Corporate Landing MS and Linkhorn Park ES.

There are also signs around schools now to instruct those not to drink certain water.

As far as communication when there are issues, AlertNow will now send notifications before and after testing. The results will also be put on the school division website.

In November, WAVY.com reported there was a weekslong delay between initial testing results indicating elevated lead levels in mid-September and notification of the public Nov. 6.

VBCPS has created a webpage at vbschools.com/safewater, where families can learn more about lead water levels, see the division’s recent test results and follow the progress of further testing. 

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