Polk School officials were expecting an update, Tuesday, on lead levels found in water samples at a handful of Polk County schools.

Board members, commenting for the first time since results showed higher-than allowed lead levels in some samples, said they’re as concerned as anyone.

Especially after getting positive results in four out of the first five schools the district had tested.

On Friday, the initial results were released for tests performed at Cleveland Court Elementary, Winston Academy of Engineering, Inwood Elementary, and Union Academy.

Some of those numbers were far higher than expected when it comes to lead levels.

In fact, they were so high in at least one case, that officials wanted to go back and re-test some of those same locations.

Those results were expected late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

“It is important to see I what the results say,” said board member Billy Townsend. “And to take appropriate precautions for them.”

Board member Hazel Sellers says she agrees. It also raises awareness, she says, about older pipes in homes and offices in throughout the city.

“It will be interesting. But I do know that our district will take care of this,” said Sellers, “And will do what it takes.”

“We want to protect our children and our staff, so we are being especially proactive and especially aggressive to address the situation,” said School Board Chair Lynn Wilson. “We are going to do whatever we have to take care of it.”

All this is being done voluntarily. There is no law mandating these tests.

Lead is toxic. It can cause mental and physical development issues in young children.

The Polk County School board is following other school systems around the nation and in our own region - that have tested for - and found - elevated levels of lead in the drinking water at our kids’ schools.

Their goal, they say, is to identify the problem spots – then replace the fixtures or pipes wherever they find an issue.

That’s likely to be at those older schools, which were constructed using lead pipes, a material they stopped doing in 1986.

Once the re-test results are back, the district plans to expand the testing to all 150 schools district-wide, starting with the oldest, and therefore presumably, most susceptible.

To see the results as they become available, just click here.

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