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Lead Contamination Testing of Drinking Water For Portland Public Schools

Portland Public Schools is a Pre-K through 12 urban school district in Portland, Oregon. With more than 49,000 students in 81 schools, it is the largest school district in Oregon and one of the largest school districts in the Pacific Northwest. Following the federal mandate from the Oregon Education Agency and the Oregon Department of Health, the school district was required to conduct water sampling and lead testing throughout their schools and other employee occupied facilities.

TRC was tasked with sampling all potential drinking water outlets from every facility within the District. The original timeline for the sampling activities was eight weeks. However, as a result of pushback from the community, the timeline to collect all of the samples was reduced to a three-week timeframe.

Services Provided
TRC responded to the District’s needs and collected over 5,000 water samples within the required three-week timeline. TRC’s local office reached out to various offices across the country to provide support for the effort. TRC mobilized staff from New York, Florida, Arizona and California and proceeded to work 24-hours a day, 7-days a week in two-person teams in order to complete the field work as needed. TRC also contracted with multiple laboratories to meet the demands of the schedule.

TRC completed the following tasks in accordance with the U.S. EPA’s 3Ts for reducing lead in drinking water in schools and childcare facilities:

  • Mapped out each school to identify each fixture to be sampled. In this case, the District went above and beyond the requirements and wanted to sample all water outlets, including bathroom sinks and exterior hose bibs.
  • Conducted a system wide flush of the water fixtures since the work was being conducted during the summer months, outside of the normal school usage, in order to confirm that the water within each fixture to be sampled had only been sitting within the fixture for 8-18 hours.
  • Collected a first draw and a 30-second flush draw sample from each fixture.
  • Organized all samples that were collected and transported them to one of multiple certified laboratories for analysis.
  • Provided electronic data deliverables to the District for each school within 24-hours of receipt of laboratory analytical results.

Project Location: Portland, Oregon
Completion Date: July 2016

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