Water Fountains Are Coming Back On


Clarion photo Lainie Pennington

Students can now safely drink from several fixtures around the building.

By Lainie Pennington and Kira Chan

For the first time since 2016, Cleveland students may finally be able to drink from water fountains in the building without fear of lead poisoning. As part of the 2017 Health and Safety Bond, Portland Public schools tested 12 of the water fixtures at Cleveland this summer. Seven of the water fountains tested below the action level of 15 parts per billion and were turned back on during the first week of the 2018-19 school year in late August, with the five not meeting the acceptable standards in the process of being repaired or replaced.

After the water was shut off in the spring of 2016, the school transitioned to the use of five-gallon water jugs delivered on a regular basis and distributed across the building. The district spent $60-70,000 on the temporary water fixtures every month, though with the reintroduction of the water fixtures, this cost will diminish. “That figure has now been reduced to $27,000 thanks to all the fixtures that were turned on at the start of school,” said John Burnham, Senior Director for Environmental Health and Safety.