New test results: Lead levels still elevated in some Polk County Schools

Polk County

After testing five schools in Polk County and finding elevated levels, district officials announced Thursday some lead levels were still high after making minor repairs.

School officials said two of the five schools tested still have elevated samples: Winston Academy in Lakeland and Union Academy in Bartow.

Fixtures will now be replaced at those schools and the water will be re-tested this week, Maintenance Manager Rory Luce told 8 On Your Side.

If the samples are still high, the district will have to look into the extensive process of re-piping.

Drinking water is either turned off or inaccessible at the remaining two schools, according to district officials. 

8 On Your Side discovered that one test result came back nearly 100 times the acceptable level set by the district. 

The plan is to test all 150 schools for lead. 

A district official explained that they thought the issues were fixed after the tests in the 90s but said they decided to circle back after recent testing in Hillsborough County schools.

District leaders will test schools built before 1986 first, because they said that’s when the laws were changed to no longer allow lead to be used in pipes. 

The plan is to provide new pipes and exchange fixtures as needed, district officials said. 

Costs are estimated to be $150,000 for initial testing. 

Three consultants will take samples at 10 to 12 schools each week. Some results could take as long as early next year to come back, officials said. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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