Portland Public Schools Let Kids Keep Drinking From Lead-Tainted Water Fountains

Parents weren't immediately notified, and the school system did not publicly release information on the problem until Wednesday.

When Portland Public Schools found elevated lead levels at two school buildings this spring, they failed to turn off the water at the drinking fountains and sinks.

Tests of the water at Creston K-8 School and the Rose City Park building found elevated lead levels at multiple sinks and parents weren't notified.

"Portland Public Schools regrets not having notified families and staff as soon as the tests indicated that there were elevated levels of lead," Superintendent Carole Smith wrote in an email to parents late Friday afternoon. "While PPS staff worked quickly to replace all fixtures that indicated elevated levels of lead, we did not turn off the water in those faucets and drinking fountains prior to them being replaced and we should have."

Below is the email sent to families by Smith and Tony Magliano, chief operating officer.

Willamette Week

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.