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Bethel Schools To Open For Academic Year Following Lead Testing

Bethel School District

An official with Bethel School District in Eugene says recent lead testing has proven the majority of its water sources are safe, and schools will open come September.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Bethel district spokesman Pat McGillivray says they proactively tested their schools and other buildings in late June.  He says so far, the results have been "scattershot" for fountains or sinks with higher than allowable lead levels. 

“Some schools have one or two, some have none, some have a dozen," explains McGillivray.  "So we identify those sites, do a retest on the water after a five-minute flush of the water system to determine whether that lead is coming from deep within the system or right there at the fixture.”

McGillivray adds until the water tests fine, the fixtures are removed and the water shut off so people can’t use it. 

Of the results so far, Cascade Middle School had the highest number of sites, with 12 fountains or sinks with high lead levels. That’s followed by Clear Lake Elementary, which had four. 

Credit Brian Bull
Drinking fountain.

The other buildings in Bethel School District have had one or no water sources with elevated levels.

Updates can be found on the district’s home page.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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