Lead concerns: Chagrin Falls school officials still cautious after water tests results

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CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio-- The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency released the results of water testing at a Chagrin Falls elementary school on Wednesday.

The district said tests revealed lead and copper in the water at T.C. Gurney Elementary School are within acceptable levels.

“Everything leads us to believe our water is safe and ready to go, but we're going to take every precaution to ensure that is the case,” Chagrin Falls Schools Superintendent Robert Hunt said.

Concern over the school’s water first began in August and September, when some water samples tested high for lead. The district said the Ohio EPA blamed lack of use over the summer. Working with the agency, Chagrin Falls upgraded water treatment equipment to balance PH levels, Hunt said.

In a letter to parents, he said the district followed EPA guidance and was told water was safe for consumption. Then, in late January when the EPA requested more testing and posted an online advisory for children and pregnant women at the school to use bottled water.

“With what's going on nationally with lead in water in Flint, Michigan, I think there’s a lot of change going on in requirements with testing and with public education, and I think that partially played into some of this,” Hunt said.

Fox 8 News reached out to an EPA spokesperson for an explanation of the discrepancies between what the school said it was told and the advisory on the EPA’s website and got the following response.

"While the advisory has been on our website since Nov. 2015, the recommendation language on our website changed about a week ago when the state was responding to Sebring and decided to err on the side of caution and use the CDC's recommendation for pregnant women and children. We have since reached out to all affected public water systems and provided them with guidance on using the new recommended language."

Parents said they’re relieved by the latest test results.

“I wasn't that concerned. Chagrin's been really good about keeping parents informed,” parent Amy Dietzel said. “I think the kids are in good hands.”

The Chagrin Exempted Village School District said they submitted 20 more samples for testing on Tuesday "out of an abundance of caution." Those results are expected by Feb. 10.

Until then, school officials will keep distributing bottled water at Gurney Elementary School.

Continuing coverage here

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T.C. Gurney Elementary

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