Test shows high levels of lead, copper at middle school in Nogales

Test shows high levels of lead, copper at middle school in Nogales

NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Faculty and staff at Desert Shadows Middle School in Nogales have covered the school's water fountains with garbage bags and are ordering students not to drink the water after a recent test indicated high levels of lead and copper.

Nogales Unified District Superintendent Fernando Parra said the test results were given to him Thursday, Sept. 1, and said a water sample taken from an exterior faucet at the school "showed exceedences of the standards for lead and copper."

A stack of letters sits at the front entrance of the school notifying parents of the test results and since then, all 700 students at Desert Shadows have been drinking bottled water or from special bottled-water stations.

"I provided to the teachers a notice on this just to let them know that the water did not pass inspection," said Desert Shadows Principal Dr. Joan Molera.

Molera said as soon as the district was notified of the results, the school was provided with drinking water for the students.

The school uses about 20 5-gallon jugs and 10-15 cases of bottled water, each containing 35 bottles, each day, according to Molera.

"Many of them are bringing their own water bottles," said Molera about the students.

According to the Nogales International, back in August, the NUSD governing board approved conducting drinking water tests at all 10 district
schools and other district buildings as well.

Parra told the board during a meeting at that time that though there wasn't a known problem with the water system, he wanted to be proactive about testing the water before there was one.

A second test was done on the same exterior faucet as well as an outside faucet on Friday, Sept 2. According to the parent's take-home letter, those results came out clean.

A third test was requested by Parra 'out of an abundance of caution' and is being done with the help of an environmental specialists. The district is still waiting for those results.

Parra is asking anyone with questions, to contact the NUSD district office directly.

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