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Elevated Lead Levels Found In 33 Jefferson County Schools

By Karen Morfitt

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- New test results show that dozens of schools in Jefferson County have elevated levels of lead. This discovery comes just one month after two elementary schools in the district tested positive for lead.

Jeffco Schools said they would test nearly all the schools in the district as a precaution after the drinking water at Slater and Edgewater Elementary Schools tested positive for lead, along with a Headstart in Arvada.

(credit: CBS)

So far, 33 schools out of 43 showed lead in the water. Not all of the 154 schools in the district will be tested because there is no risk for contamination in schools built after 1986, when lead levels were regulated.

Kelly Johnson has two boys enrolled in Jeffco Schools.

"It's not surprising at all. We have very, very old buildings," said Johnson.

Since June nearly 100 elementary schools have been tested.

(credit: CBS)

Jeffco Schools Facilities Director Tim Reed presented current findings to the school board on Thursday.

"We've taking the approach that they are out of service basically so the real high ones are definitely out of service," said Reed.

They also presented their plan to fix the problem before school begins for the fall semester.

"We are replacing all of the plumbing from the source, piping from that point through what we call the stop into the faucet and drinking fountain," said Reed.

(credit: CBS)

The county is not required to test the water and some parents like Johnson say the fact that it's being done anyway is reassuring.

"The fact that they were proactive impresses me and makes me feel safer and I also appreciate the fact that when they do find a problem they are addressing it as quickly as possible," said Johnson.

Jefferson County estimates the repairs will cost $150,000.

Karen Morfitt Joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around metro Denver. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.

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