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Water At Stock School Tests Positive For High Levels Of Lead

 Water at 34 schools throughout the city has tested positive for lead, including Stock School in Edison Park, officials said. 
Water at 34 schools throughout the city has tested positive for lead, including Stock School in Edison Park, officials said. 
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Friends of Stock School

EDISON PARK — Water from one sink at Stock School in Edison Park has tested positive for lead, Chicago Public Schools officials announced.

In a letter to parents of students at the Edison Park preschool, Chicago Public Schools officials said tests conducted in May found 16.4 parts per billion of lead in water from a sink in Principal Ann McNally's office.

The Environmental Protection Agency considers water with less than 15 parts per billion of lead to be safe.

The sink has been shut down, and a plan to remove the lead is being developed, officials said.

Stock, 7507 W. Birchwood Ave., which has been named one of best preschools in Illinois for the last two years, has many students with special needs.

It is the first school on the Far Northwest Side where water with elevated levels of lead has been found.

At Oriole Park Elementary School, 5424 N. Oketo Ave., water from one sink in the school's annex — built a year ago — was found to have 12.3 parts per billion, lower than the EPA's warning level.

No lead was detected in any of the sinks or drinking fountains at Farnsworth Elementary School, 5414 N. Linder Ave., in Jefferson Park; or Beard Elementary School, 6445 W. Strong St., in Norwood Park, according to results released by Chicago Public Schools officials.

At Bridge Elementary School, 3800 N. New England Ave., in Dunning, tests showed less than two parts per billion of lead in several drinking fountains, according to the test results.

At Chicago Academy Elementary School, 3400 N. Austin Ave., tests found no more than three parts per billion in any drinking fountain or sink, according to the test results.

The results come as CPS "is taking proactive steps to ensure that our children's drinking water is safe across all schools," spokesman Michael Passman said.

CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool called for citywide testing in late May after Tanner Elementary tested positive last month as part of a pilot program at 324 schools built before 1986 with pre-kindergarten programs, including Canty Elementary School in Dunning.

The government is especially concerned with children drinking lead-tainted water, as they're more susceptible to its effects. Amounts of lead that won't hurt adults can hinder mental and physical development in children, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The district has been sending letters home to parents and hosting a series of community meetings, which have been attended by virtually no one.

As of this week, the district has tested 1,929 fixtures in 113 schools, and 71 of the fixtures, or 3.7 percent, had at least one sample with a lead level above the Environmental Protection Agency's action level.

Nine other Far Northwest Side schools have had their water tested, but the results were not available as of Tuesday afternoon. Those schools are:

• Reinberg Elementary School in Portage Park

• Portage Park Elementary School

• Gray Elementary School in Portage Park

• Dirksen Elementary School in Norwood Park.

• Beaubien Elementary School in Jefferson Park

• Hitch Elementary School in Gladstone Park

• Onahan Elementary School in Norwood Park

• Smyser Elementary School in Portage Park

• Norwood Park Elementary School.

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