PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Public Schools is in the process of making drinking water safe at schools again, after lead was discovered in school water.
Astor School is the first school to have the drinking fountains turned back on, starting Wednesday morning.The fixtures were replaced in early September as part of the first phase of the effort to bring drinking water within acceptable lead levels across the district.
Students have been drinking bottled water.
At 7:45am, new Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero will join PPS Board of Directors member Mike Rosen, and COO Jerry Vincent at Astor K-8.
"We want to make sure when we open the fixtures back up, that they are actually safe to drink, and that's our promise to our families," said Guerrero.
Astor is part of the first group of 15 schools to have its fixtures replaced. After that, crews replaced parts of the interior and exterior pipe systems, testing the system after each step. After replacing backflow preventors, the water was tested again before the fixtures were given final approval.
The first group of schools to have fixtures replaced also includes: Lewis, Woodstock, Chapman, Skyline, West Sylvan, Atkinson, Richmond, Rose City Park, Sacajawea, Beverly Cleary/Fernwood, Applegate, Chief Joseph, Meek, and Hayhurst.
Chapman will be the next school to come back on line, likely later this week. Once this group of schools is finished, work will begin on the next 15. The district's goal is to finish the work by the end of the 2017-18 school year.
Bathroom and classroom sinks will not be replaced at this time, and will remain marked as off-limits to students.
Drinking water fixtures have been turned off since May, 2016. The water quality work is budgeted for $28 million.
There is $150 million set aside for health and safety work from the 2017 bond passed in May