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High Lead Levels Still Present In Butler Co. School's Water

BUTLER (KDKA) – Tests of the water an elementary school in Butler County continue to show high levels of lead.

The latest Summit Elementary School water test results were released on Thursday. The results showed a sample from the well had a very low lead level and a below detection limit for copper.

However, the sample from the raw water tap in the school's boiler room had levels of both lead and copper that were over the action level.

Meanwhile, classes were canceled for the week after a sample collected from the untreated well water showed traces of E. coli bacteria. While the well water undergoes treatment and sampling of the water in the school showed no traces of E. coli, the district is required to notify consumers.

The chlorine filtering system proved effective, but Dr. Williams Pettigrew said it isn't foolproof. Pettigrew is the chairman of the Summit Elementary Water Project. He was recently hired by the Butler Area School District to help sort out Summit's high levels of lead and copper.

"That threw a severe red flag and it was my position and my recommendation to the board to close that school and get those students out of there as soon as possible because I don't know what's coming next," Pettigrew said.

On Monday, students will transition to Broad Street Elementary School, which is currently not in use. This week, the school district got approval from the state to move the students to the new location for the foreseeable future.

Water testing was done at Broad Street Elementary School last Thursday. Those tests are expected to come back clear because the school is on the same water system as the city. Still, bottles of water will be provided for students until Wednesday when the tests are expected to come back.

The school district also sent letters to parents about the move this week. School district officials will host an open house at Broad Street Elementary from 5-7 p.m. Friday.

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