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List of Tacoma schools with lead in water grows to 11

The number of Tacoma schools found with high levels of lead in the water may be decreasing. (KIRO 7)

As crews in Tacoma start digging up pipes at some homes Thursday, the number of Tacoma schools with lead contamination in water has grown to 11 schools.

Since Wednesday, the list of schools with unacceptable levels of lead in their water has grown from six to 11, KIRO 7 reports.

Related Seattle Public Utilities finds low levels of lead

Tacoma schools said the state Department of Health recommends a threshold of 20 parts per billion (ppb), but as an added safety measure, the district threshold for triggering action is 15 ppb for lead. The district’s prior testing protocol used a threshold of 20 ppb.

Using the new protocol, the district completed a new review of 2015 water test results for Birney, Browns Point, Larchmont, Point Defiance, and Whitman and elementary schools, and found from one to five additional fixtures at each school that tested just above the lower threshold.

Other elementary schools found to have high lead levels earlier this week are Whittier, Manitou Park, DeLong, Madison, Reed and Mann.

District officials say bottled water will be available at all affected schools until repairs can be made and the water re-tested.

Whittier has closed its kitchen. Food preparation will be done at a nearby high school.

On Tuesday, the district said it is conducting an “immediate, complete audit of all past water quality test results, testing procedures, maintenance practices and communications to ensure – moving forward – there is a much better system in place.”

A contractor took new samples at Mann and Reed Tuesday before school. Technicians collected samples from hundreds of locations from classrooms, water fountains, to kitchen areas. It is not yet known when the results of those tests will be in.

Meanwhile, crews in Tacoma will be digging to find gooseneck connectors at homes that could be contaminated with high levels of lead.

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