Our Maintenance team is committed to providing students, staff, and the community with well-functioning, well-maintained, and safe locations that support teaching and learning. Our team is made up of four groups that include Buildings, Electrical/Plumbing, Grounds, and HVAC. We service 3.6 million square feet of buildings and equipment at 42 school sites in addition to several support buildings. We also are responsible for 600 acres of grounds, 216 acres of which we mow.
Water Quality at Kent School District
Water Quality In Our Schools
In 2017, the Washington State Legislature provided funding to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to test for lead in drinking water in public schools in an effort to reduce children's overall exposure to lead in the environment. This testing is voluntary for public schools.
As part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring the health of our students and staff is protected, and to be in compliance with Board Policy, we will be participating in this program. The state funding for testing in 2019 is for elementary schools, Kent School District (KSD) is funding the testing all other school locations.
DOH and KSD staff will sample every tap used by students for drinking water or used to prepare food for students over the next eight weeks. The testing will be done prior to the school day before students are in the building, this testing does not disrupt learning or teaching.
In 2016 through our testing process, we were able to quickly correct deficiencies at seven sites that were identified bringing them up to National Drinking Water Standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. This testing is routinely done every three years to ensure that our students and staff consume healthy, non-contaminated water while in our buildings.
As soon as we receive testing results, we begin working with the Department of Health on a remediation plan and communication any action taken with our school families, if necessary. Water quality in our schools remain safe.
If you have any questions or concerns about the testing process, please contact our supervisor of maintenance at (253) 373-7279 or Gordon.Cook@kent.k12.wa.us.
Partnering with DOH to Reduce Student’s Exposure to Lead
- We are working with DOH to identify lead sources and reduce them as much as possible.
- The EPA action level is 20 ppb.
- The lower the lead level in water the better
- Reaching zero is difficult – if not impossible.
- We will take action on the results that are above the EPA action level.
Children at Schools with Lead in Their Drinking Water are Likely Healthy
- The concentration of lead in drinking water, even when it exceeds the EPA standard, is low compared to other sources of lead such as lead paint. The likelihood of drinking water at school alone causing an elevated blood lead level is very low.
- If you believe your child may have been exposed to lead in the environment, contact your healthcare provider.
- In 2017, the Legislature directed DOH to sample and test drinking water in public schools. The purpose of this testing is to reduce or eliminate lead in school water.
- Schools with the oldest buildings are at greatest risk for lead in their water.
- Water sampling was done before children arrived for school; the process took about an hour and a half to complete.
- Samplers took the very first draw of water from the taps after the water has been sitting overnight. This technique is designed to find the highest levels of lead. After the tap has been used a few times the lead concentration likely goes down.
- DOH is helping us understand recommendations based on testing results.
- Schools are not currently required to test for lead in their drinking water.
- Regulations supporting school health and safety have been on hold for more than 8 years due to a lack of legislative funding.