Jefferson County Schools, Lead Exceeding Allowable Limits Found In Recent Water Tests

In a release from Dr. Shane Johnston, Jefferson County Director Of Schools – Jefferson County Schools recently tested water sources on the campuses of the school district in compliance Jefferson County School Board policy (3.212) that aligns with TCA 49-2-133.

The tests were completed in December 2019.

The first round of results was provided yesterday and there were multiple sources identified in excess of the allowable limits. Per state guidelines, samples that are in excess of twenty parts per billion (20 ppb) must be removed as a source of drinking water.

Once the results were confirmed, Jefferson County Schools began the process of immediately removing the identified sources from service, notified the Jefferson County Department of Health, and communicated with building level administrators.

During the evening of January 29, 2020, I made the appropriate notifications per statute, and a parent letter was prepared. The parent letter is going home with students from the six schools today.

Most of the sources are classroom sinks, but other areas impacted include one kitchen sink, hallway drinking fountain, custodian closet sink, and an ice machine. The ice machine is predominately used by the nurse to provide ice for injuries.

Test results are expected over the next few days for the other campuses in Jefferson County Schools and our team will continue to address any new issues that are identified.

We will continue to monitor this situation and steps will be taken to remove (permanently), repair, or replace the identified source. Prior to any source being used again, the source will be retested.

There is nothing more important that the safety of our students and employees so we will always take these type reports very serious and address the issues to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for all our students, teachers, and staffs.

The information below is the transcript used to notify state agencies about the Lead exceeding the allowable limits found during the recent water tests at schools in Jefferson County. Actual school letters contain the same information but were customized for each school. Thanks, Shane

Please allow this to serve as official notification concerning the results found in drinking water sources located in Jefferson County Schools. As identified below, some areas have exceeded the allowable amounts of Lead.

In December 2019, Jefferson County Schools completed testing of water sources at all campuses in compliance with TCA 49-2-133. Today, initial results were reported to my office for six of the school campuses found in Jefferson County Schools.

The campuses include New Market Elementary School, Dandridge Elementary School, Piedmont Elementary School, White Pine School, Jefferson Middle School, and Maury Middle School.

Each campus had at least one drinking water source that exceeded twenty parts per billion (20ppb). Please see the information below.

  • New Market 14 sources in excess Classroom sinks & 1 kitchen sink
  • Dandridge 1 source in excess Classroom sink
  • Piedmont 1 source in excess Hallway Drinking Fountain
  • White Pine School 6 sources in excess Classroom sinks & Drinking Fountain
  • Jefferson Middle School 2 sources in excess Custodian Closet & Classroom sink
  • Maury Middle School 1 source in excess Ice Machine

The drinking water sources have been removed from operation and will remain inoperative until repairs and retesting. It is possible that the sources will be removed permanently.

Respectfully Submitted,

Shane Johnston