Environmental monitoring

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We are committed to ongoing inspections and testing for lead, radon and asbestos as part of our preventative maintenance plan. Find out when, where and how we test.

Lead

Radon

Asbestos

What’s required

Inspection/testing is not required by the state; however, the Environmental Protection Agency’s allowable limit for lead is 0.015 parts per million (ppm). Inspection/testing is not required by the state; however, the Environmental Protection Agency’s action level for radon is 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The Environmental Protection Agency requires inspection/testing and management of asbestos under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, or AHERA.

What we do

VPS obtains samples in-house using sampling methods prescribed by the EPA. The samples are provided to a third-party laboratory certified in testing for lead values in water. VPS utilizes short-term test kits to conduct initial and follow-up testing.

Long-term test kits may be utilized in areas where room results are between 4.0 pCi/L and 8 pCi/L. These results may best represent the average concentration for the school year in that room.

VPS conducts certified inspections and periodic checks as part of a larger plan, which also includes:

  • Assessment reports
  • Training program for personnel
  • Plans and procedures to minimize the disturbance of materials containing asbestos

When we test

Testing has been ongoing since 2016 and takes place throughout the calendar year. Primary testing occurs between January and March of each school year. Test kits are placed during the school week.
    • Periodic surveillance inspections two times per year
    • Three-year reinspection completed by third-party vendor
    • Periodic inspection and sampling completed by a certified AHERA building inspector as needed or requested

Where we test

VPS tests for lead in water in the following school locations:

  • Drinking fountains
  • Kitchen taps
  • Classroom taps
  • Outdoor hose bibs used by athletes
Testing occurs in all frequently occupied rooms in contact with the ground and spaces above crawlspaces or basements. Schools built after 1989 have been certified as being free of asbestos. Testing occurs at schools and locations built prior to 1989.

How we test

Our goal is to test 20% of district locations each year over a five-year period. VPS’ limit is 0.015 ppm.

  • Potable water sources with results higher than 0.015 ppm are removed from service, replaced and retested.
  • Fixtures are not placed back into service until mitigation work is complete and results show below 0.015 ppm.
  • Potable water sources at 0.015 ppm are regularly monitored.
  • VPS will work toward lowering sources of potable water between 0.010 and 0.015 ppm.
All schools undergo testing. Our goal is to test 20% of each school over a five-year period.

  • Schools that have a mitigation system will undergo annual testing for the life of the system.
  • Initial results of 4.0 pCi/L or greater undergo an immediate follow-up test.
  • Subsequent results of 4.0 pCi/L will initiate mitigation including, but not limited to, heating/cooling system corrections.
  • Per industry standard, ventilation systems may be installed in areas where radon can’t be reduced with heating/cooling systems.
  • Periodic surveillance inspection: A visual inspection only; testing for asbestos is required if presumed asbestos are noted within the inspection report as damaged. All damaged items may be addressed by encapsulation or removal.
  • Three-year reinspection: Samples are taken from areas that have become damaged since the last inspection or reinspection. All damaged items may be addressed by encapsulation or removal.
  • Periodic inspection and sampling: Samples are taken from areas where suspected asbestos containing materials are identified. All damaged items may be addressed by encapsulation or removal.

When and how families and staff are notified

Families will be informed annually of tests planned for the school year.

Notification will be sent after testing has been completed and we learn whether the results are below the allowable limit or we have resolved the issue.

Families will be informed annually of tests planned for the school year.

Notification will be sent within 10 business days of the district learning whether or not results require further action (mitigation) to correct the system.

Families will be informed annually of tests planned for the school year.

Notification will be sent within 10 business days of the district learning whether or not results require further action (mitigation).

Where to find more information

EPA: Drinking Water Requirements (external link) 

WA Department of Health: Lead in School Drinking Water (external link) 

WA Department of Health: Radon (external link)

EPA: Radon in Schools (external link)

EPA: Health Risk of Radon (external link)

EPA: Asbestos and School Buildings (external link)

WA Department of Health: Asbestos (external link)

Contact

Facilities support service center
Phone: 360-313-4777
Send us an email

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