Lead in Drinking Water

Stillwater Area Public Schools takes the safety of our students and staff very seriously by regularly testing our buildings' water supply, as recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 

Lead in water is the result of leeching from solder, piping and brass fixtures. The longer water stands in a plumbing system, the greater potential there is for lead to leech into a water supply. That means that plumbing fixtures that sit unused overnight and on weekends can have higher lead levels in the water supply.

According to MDH, virtually all reported lead contamination cases are the result of exposure at home. We encourage families to become knowledgeable about the risks of their homes. You can find more information about water safety from the Minnesota Department of Health


Water Safety in our Schools

In April 2018, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) jointly released the Reducing Lead in Drinking Water: A Technical Guidance and Model Plan for Minnesota’s Public Schools.   

Stillwater Area Public Schools adopted the state's model plan for reducing lead in drinking water. This ensures that each building will be tested for lead in drinking water at least once every five years and results shall be communicated. First draw samples were collected at Afton-Lakeland, Andersen, Brookview, Lake Elmo and Lily Lake Elementary on May 4, 2018 and May 8, 2018. The remaining sites were initially tested November 2018, with follow-up testing completed in December 2018.

Results will be shared on this webpage once they are available. For more information, please contact the district operations department at 651.351.8378. 

BuildingMethod & DateResultsCorrective Action
Afton-Lakeland Elementary5/4/18 & 5/8/18 & 11/18

Forty-three samples were collected. Six were about 20 ppb, twenty-three were less than or equal to 20 ppb but greater than 2 ppb. All other results were less than 2 ppb or none detected.

11/18 Update

The six sinks testing above 20 ppb were labeled not for drinking after receiving results. These taps will be replaced during summer 2018.

Update: after replacement of these sink faucets, taps were resampled on September 18, 2018 and November 2, 2018. All six (6) sink faucets had lead levels below the action level of 20 ppb. Furthermore, after letting the water run for 30 seconds, no lead was detected in any of the results. No additional action necessary.

Andersen Elementary5/4/18 & 5/8/18Thirty samples were collected and all were none detected for lead. No action necessary.
Brookview Elementary5/4/18 & 5/8/18Seventy-four samples were collected. None were above 20 ppb, twelve were less than or equal to 20 ppb but greater than 2 ppb. All other results were less than 2 ppb or none detected.No action necessary however Construction Team was notified of drinking fountain results for future benchmarking at other sites.
Lake Elmo Elementary

5/4/18 & 5/8/18 & 11/18

Sixty-seven samples were collected. Six were above 20 ppb, thirty-nine were less than or equal to 20 ppb but greater than 2 ppb. All other results were less than 2 ppb or none detected.

11/18 Update

The kettle was not being used this school year and has since been permanently removed from service. The remaining five sinks tested about 20 ppb were labeled not for drinking after receiving results. These taps will be replaced during summer 2018. 

Update: after replacement of these sink faucets, taps were resampled on September 18, 2018 and November 2, 2018.  Four (4) out of the (5) resampled sink faucets had lead levels below the action level of 20 ppb. A sink faucet located in the Media Center and the kitchen kettle continue to have lead levels greater than 20 ppb. Once this result was received, the District labeled the sink faucet “water not for drinking.” As for the kitchen kettle, Nutrition Services was notified to run the water for at least 30 seconds to significantly reduce lead levels. Flushing the water for 30 seconds reduced lead levels at all sampled locations.

Lily Lake Elementary5/4/18 & 5/8/18Sixty-six samples were collected. One was above 20 ppb, fifty were less than or equal to 20 ppb but greater than 2 ppb. All other results were less than 2 ppb or none detected.The kettle was not being used this school year and has since been permanently removed from service. 
Rutherford Elementary11/18 & 12/18

Three (3) out of fifty-one (51) collected water samples were above the recommended limit of 20 ppb. These taps included two kettles and the spray wand located within the kitchen.  

12/18 Update

Per Facilities Manager, these three (3) sources shall be cleaned (i.e. aerators/screens) and resampled. In the meantime, these taps were marked “water not for drinking.”

Update: the aerator was cleaned on the spray wand located in the kitchen and was resampled on December 18, 2018. Aerator cleaning was an effective method of reducing first and flush draw sampling to below the action level of 20 ppb. No additional action necessary for this tap. As for the two (2) kitchen kettles, Nutrition Services was notified to run the water for at least 30 seconds to significantly reduce lead levels.  

Stonebridge Elementary

11/18 & 12/18

Sixteen (16) out of sixty-four (64) collected water samples were above the recommended limit of 20 ppb. A drinking fountain located within Classroom B120 had an elevated lead in drinking water level. Sink faucets located in Special Ed Classroom A119, Classroom A112 (northeast), Classroom A112 (east middle), Classroom A112 (southeast), Classroom A112 (southeast), Classroom  A112 (south middle), Classroom A112 (southwest), Classroom A114 (south middle), Classroom A114 (southwest), Classroom B126, Classroom B105, Classroom B118 Storage, Classroom B120, Classroom B137, and Classroom B138 had elevated lead in drinking water levels.

12/18 Update

Per Facilities Manager, these sixteen (16) taps shall be cleaned (i.e. aerators/screens) and resampled. In the meantime, these taps were marked “water not for drinking.”

Update: aerators were cleaned on sixteen (16) water outlets and were resampled on December 4, 2018. Eleven (11) outlets were effectively reduced to below the action level of 20 ppb. No additional action necessary for these taps. Five (5) fixtures remain above the limit. However, after letting the water run for 30 seconds, lead concentrations are reduced to below the action level on all fixtures. Therefore, flushing prior to consumption is an allowable method of reducing lead exposure. Long-term, the Manager of Facilities and Site Operations will assess for a potential fixture and lateral line piping.

Oak-Land Middle School11/18 One (1) out of forty-six (46) collected water samples was above the recommended limit of 20 ppb. The elevated tap was a sink faucet located within Instrument Storage 147. Science and art room sink faucets were not tested; District posted signage on such fixtures stating, “water not for drinking.”The sink faucet located within Instrument Storage 147 was marked “water not for drinking.”
Stillwater Middle School11/18 & 12/18

Three (3) out of fifty-five (55) collected water samples were above the recommended limit of 20 ppb. A sink faucet located in FACS Classroom 180W (northwest wall), a sink faucet located in Classroom 104S, and a sink faucet located in Classroom 190W had elevated lead in drinking water levels. Science and art room sink faucets were not tested; District posted signage on such fixtures stating, “water not for drinking.”

12/18 Update

Per Facilities Manager, these three (3) sink faucets shall be cleaned (i.e. aerators/screens) and resampled. In the meantime, these taps were marked “water not for drinking.”

Update: aerators were cleaned on identified three (3) sink faucets and resampled on December 4 & 18, 2018. Aerator cleaning was an effective method of reducing first and flush draw sampling to below the action level of 20 ppb. No additional action necessary.

Stillwater Area High School11/18One (1) out of one hundred and twenty-eight (128) collected water samples was above the recommended limit of 20 ppb. The elevated tap was a sink faucet located in the Media Center Workroom D214. Science and art room sink faucets were not tested; District posted signage on such fixtures stating, “water not for drinking.” The sink faucet located in the Media Center Workroom (D214) was marked “water not for drinking.”
Early Childhood Family Center11/18One (1) out of fifty-seven (57) collected water samples was above the recommended limit of 20 ppb. The elevated tap was a sink faucet located within Therapy Room 7.The sink faucet located within Therapy Room 7 was marked “water not for drinking.”
Central Services Building11/18Four (4) samples were collected and all were well below the recommended level of 20 ppb for lead in drinking water.No action necessary.
Oak Park Building

11/18 & 12/18

Forty-one (41) out of sixty-three (63) collected water samples were above the recommended limit of 20 ppb. It’s important to note that sections of the building are not occupied during this school year.

12/18 Update

Per the Minnesota Department of Health, lead levels in water within the plumbing system of a building can vary greatly from tap to tap as usage patterns influence the amount of lead in drinking water. The “on-again, off-again” water use patterns of most schools can contribute to elevated lead levels in drinking. This is likely the factor for the frequent occurrence of high results found within the building.

Per the Facilities Manager, these forty-one (41) identified taps shall be cleaned (i.e. aerators/screens) and resampled. In the meantime, the taps were marked “water not for drinking.”

Update: aerators were cleaned on forty-one (41) water outlets. This action reduced lead in water to below the action level of 20 ppb for approximately half of the fixtures. However, after letting the water run for 30 seconds, lead concentrations are reduced to below the action level on all fixtures. Therefore, flushing prior to consumption is an allowable method of reducing lead exposure. Long-term, the Manager of Facilities and Site Operations will assess for a potential fixture and lateral line piping replacement project over the summer months.

ppv = parts per billion

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) strongly recommends that schools take remedial action if samples from drinking water taps produce lead levels greater than 20 ppb.