FARMINGTON — On May 10, it was reported that schools in the Regional School Unit 9 had detected high levels of lead content in their drinking water.

Superintendent Christian Elkington had a district wide shut down on Friday, May 6, to address the issue and find a potential solution.

According to state law, the acceptable lead limit in drinking water should not exceed 4 parts per billion [ppb]. Under federal law, the standard is 15 ppb.

Under Maine Legislature, Maine schools had until May 31 to test their drinking water for potentially high lead levels. Several RSU 9 schools have far exceeded the state and federal limit, with the levels at Academy Hill, Cascade Brook, Cape Cod Hill, G.D. Cushing, and W.G. Mallet schools being the most alarming.

When asked why these schools had such high levels, Elkington stated it was partially due to them mostly having the oldest equipment but is not entirely certain given that W.G. Mallet opened in 2011.

Mt. Blue Middle School and Mt. Blue Middle School had some fixtures that exceed the state limit, but those fixtures were reportedly replaced and are being monitored.


In August, RSU 9 Director of Finance and Operations Dan Higgins met with the Board of Directors to elaborate on the plans to address these issues. They included replacing multiple water fixtures across all schools as well as providing information and bottled water to students and parents at the affected schools.

Elkington stated that he is currently compiling a letter reviewing the situation and that no new updates could be reported at this time.

Elkington stated in May that RSU 9 intended to test the water in six months to see if there were any significant changes, but Elkington has not confirmed if the testing has been done yet.

Elkington stated RSU 9 is continuing to offer bottled water to the schools and will continue to do so until they can retest the water.

More information as well as the result of the testing of the water and their lead levels can be found at RSU 9’s website.

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