Elevated Lead Levels Found in Water at Two Portland Public Schools

"Routine lead testing" found problems; PPS is budgeted to test all schools.

Tests at Creston and Rose City Park elementary schools showed lead levels that exceed federal standards, according to an email sent to members of the Portland School Board on Wednesday night.

The testing dates as far back as two months ago, The Oregonian first reported Thursday.

Of the 56 fountains and sinks used for drinking water at Creston, six came back with elevated levels of lead.

Updated at 2 pm:

Another eight came back with elevated lead levels at Rose City Park. The Rose City Park tests show three sinks and fountains had lead levels at or slightly above 30 parts per billion, according to a report district officials made available to parents.

That's twice the safety level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Portland Public Schools spokeswoman Christine Miles said the Creston tests were sparked by an inquiry from parents.

Here's the notice sent to the School Board and to the school community on Wednesday:

Amanda Whalen

Chief of Staff

Portland Public Schools

Subject: Creston water quality

Dear Creston Families and Staff,

Earlier this spring, PPS tested the lead levels in the drinking water at our school, a routine practice in our schools. The water sources were tested twice on March 22 and April 22.

A total of 56 fixtures – drinking fountains, classroom sinks used for drinking water, and sinks in the nurse’s office and the kitchen area – were tested. Six of the 56 exceeded the federal Environmental Protection Agency maximum for acceptable lead levels. The maximum contaminate level for lead is 15 parts per billion (ppb).

The district immediately began replacing water fountains and sink fixtures that did not meet the EPA standard. Follow up testing will be completed by the end of this week. Results of that testing will be sent to families and staff via email and should be available by the week of June 6.

We appreciate the concern of our community and will continue to work with the PPS Facilities Department to monitor our water quality.

More information regarding drinking water and other sources of lead, is available from the following agencies:

Portland Water Bureau


Phone: 503-823-7404

Multnomah County Health


Thank you for your attention.

Conrad Hurdle


Creston K-8 School

Andy Fridley

Senior Manager, Health & Safety

Facilities & Asset Management

Portland Public Schools

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