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Kalispell Public Schools delay lead testing

KALISPELL – Lead testing for Kalispell Public Schools has been pushed back after new regulations are being examined by the state.

It’s been 13 years since Kalispell tested the school’s district water for lead.

High levels of lead can cause negative impacts on children’s cognitive development.

After a concerned parent brought the issue forward, the district hoped to test the water for lead this summer.

However, the state recently announced it’s establishing new testing rules beginning Oct. 1 — tests will compare lead levels to baseline readings taken in the next year.

“At high levels, it can be extremely concerning, thus the concern,” said Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent Mark Flatau. “All of the indications from our previous testing, we actually re-tested some sites were well within the EPA guidelines for safe drinking water.”

Testing is costly, samples need to be taken from individual spigots and water fountains in each school. Testing alone can be in the thousands.

The cost to test Rankin Elementary, Kalispell Middle School and Glacier High School is $6,750, not including the cost of getting printed reports of the lead levels.

Flatau told MTN News that it’s a cost the district will spend.

Maren Siu

Maren Siu

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