Lead test results for five more Auburn schools released this week

Jul. 22—AUBURN — Lead concentration results from water fixtures in five more Auburn schools became available online this week, revealing several dozen more faucets and fountains in the district with levels above the state's recommended threshold.

Forty-eight of the 317 water fixtures tested at Auburn Middle, Fairview Elementary, Park Avenue Elementary and Franklin Alternative schools, and the N.K. Lewis Center, home to the Regional Educational Treatment Center & Success of Students were found to have lead concentrations at or above the state's recommended level of four parts per billion.

The results from each of the five schools were more promising than those from Edward Little High School, where 50% of the 115 water fixtures tested were found to be at or above the state's threshold.

The Auburn School Department is planning to hire a consultant to aid in reducing lead levels in school water fixtures to below the state threshold. Water fixtures found to have high lead levels will be taken out of service until the remediation is complete.

A 2019 law requires Maine schools to submit water samples for testing from all fixtures used for drinking or cooking by the end of the calendar year. The law applies to public and private schools.

Federal grants are funding the testing program, however school districts are responsible for remediating water fixtures with lead levels above the state threshold.

Lead is a toxin which can impair the development of young children, especially those under age 6, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control website. Children are most commonly exposed through old paint dust, which is "almost always the cause of lead poisoning," it states. There is no safe threshold for lead exposure.

In water, lead often originates from solder or from brass plumbing hardware.

Thus far, 27% of the 16,000 fixtures tested have shown lead levels at or above 4 parts per billion. Seven out of 10 Maine schools have received results from water testing as of Tuesday.