Chagrin Falls school may have lead in its water

Posted at 9:09 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 23:30:35-05

An elementary school has been warned to not allow children or pregnant women to drink its water due to the possibility of a lead contamination, according to a release from the school. 

The school said on Thursday morning a message was posted to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's website regarding the water quality at Gurney Elementary School. The school was concerned since the information in the message contradicted the information the schools was provided with in November. 

The message stated:

The Centers for Disease Control recommends children and pregnant women use bottled water or water from a filtration system that has been certified by an independent testing organization to reduce or eliminate lead for cooking, drinking and baby formula preparation. 

The school said the post was concerning because the district makes student and staff safety a top priority. 

The school said the post contradicts the information, guidance, and direction provided by the Ohio EPA regarding the school's water. In a release, a timeline was provided of the events and actions the district took over the last couple of months. 


The timeline states in August 2015, the schools tested water samples for lead and two of 10 were above the action level for lead of 15 micrograms per liter.

In September 2015, the two samples were resampled and were under the 15 microgram level. Later that month, more water samples were taken and one sample was above the 15 microgram level.

In October 2015, the school asked the Ohio EPA for advice on how to correct the issue.

In November 2015, the school's water treatment equipment was upgraded and it balanced out the waters pH levels. The Ohio EPA was said to be satisfied with the modifications. A letter was sent that month by the Ohio EPA stating the water monitoring was no longer required at the school. On Nov. 16, 2015, the schools asked the Ohio EPA if the water was okay for students and staff to drink. The Ohio EPA said it was safe to consume. A notice was sent out to parents and posted on the school's website about the school's water results. 

On Jan. 22, 2016, the Ohio EPA told Gurney two additional lead and copper samples would be required. The samples were taken on Jan. 27 and results are anticipated to be released on Feb. 3. 

"There is an obvious discrepancy on the guidance provided and the information posted on the Ohio EPA's website," the school said in a release Thursday. When the Ohio EPA was contacted by the school about the notice, the representative working with Gurney appeared to be unaware of the posting, according to the school. 

The school has decided to provide bottled drinking water to students and staff, and will also shut off drinking fountains. Water in restrooms can still be used for hand washing, the Ohio EPA told Gurney. 

Gurney plans to take additional water samples and test them on Feb. 3.