Lead Detected in Water at Montana Public Schools

Jan. 20, 2022

One fixture at Highland Park, four at Havre High School, and 25 at Havre Middle School were shut off.

All public schools in Montana were required to test their drinking water for lead in 2021 and the results have been released.

According to Hi-Line Today, many districts failed to meet the deadline. The districts who did meet the deadline, such as Havre Public Schools, produced results that were described as not “optimal.” 

The results of the drinking water testing found that all fixtures at Sunnyside Elementary had levels of lead in the water that is safe to drink. One fixture at Lincoln-McKinley showed lead at a level that required routine flushing but not immediate replacement, reported Hi-Line Today. Three schools in the district had at least one fixture that had excess levels of lead over 15 parts per billion (ppb), which were then immediately shut off.

One fixture at Highland Park, four at Havre High School, and 25 at Havre Middle School were shut off.

According to Superintendent Craig Mueller, the district will continue investigating the issue.

“We will be able to provide to the community more detailed and more specific information once we know the extent of what we need to do to make sure we’re in compliance,” said Mueller, reported Hi-Line Today.

Billings School District is also seeing a similar trend. Funds for testing were provided by the U.S. EPA and allocated via Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality. Funding from the recently passed Infrastructure bill could go towards remediating the issue, reported Hi-Line Today.

Montana announced its school lead testing program in January 2020. As of Dec. 2021, the state says most of Montana’s 560 schools have yet to comply with program requirements, reported Yellowstone Public Radio.

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Cristina Tuser

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