Marshall School Board approves Lead-in-Water management plan

MARSHALL — One of the two action items approved during the Marshall School Board meeting on Monday was the adoption of a plan to alternatively and efficiently test for the presence of lead in the water in school buildings serving pre-K through 12th-grade students.

While the district has tested for lead in the past, the district did not necessarily have a formalized Lead-in-Water plan in place.

“We need to have a plan in place now,” Marshall Superintendent Scott Monson said. “We’ve been doing it informally and we tested for lead not too long ago, but now (the plan) basically says when we’re going to test and what the criteria is and different things like that.”

A newly-developed management plan was presented in a 12-page document that highlights a variety of areas, including the plan’s purpose and procedures along with record-keeping and results.

“This is a result of a KSTP TV investigation back almost two years ago and then ensuing legislative action to mandate the process for all Minnesota districts,” business director Bruce Lamprecht said. “We have been doing this testing in our district and have always had ‘clean’ results.”

According to a statement of purpose, Marshall Public Schools is committed to providing a safe working and learning environment for employees and students. The new management plan for Lead-in-Water was developed to reduce the potential for exposure to lead in water and to comply with Minnesota Statute 121A.335 as well as recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency’s “3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools: Revised Technical Guidance” (2006) and the Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education.

Exposure to lead is a significant health concern. Lead is a metal that typically enters drinking water through the distribution system, including pipes, solders, faucets and valves. Lead levels in water may reportedly increase when the water is allowed to sit undisturbed in the system, which is why “first draw” samples are taken.

According to maintenance procedures, when lead content exceeds 20 parts per billion (ppb), fixtures should be taken out of service until the lead content can be reduced to 20 ppb or lower.

The most-recent sampling at MPS occurred in October 2016, when all five of district buildings were tested and passed within normal range, which is less than 20 ppb. Two fixtures were tested at MATEC, with the highest being 0.96. At Marshall High School, 14 fixtures were tested with the highest reading at 0.58.

Marshall Middle School samplings from 32 fixtures show the highest level was at 1.92. The highest reading from seven fixtures tested at West Side Elementary was 2.73.

Having sampled 10, Park Side Elementary recorded the highest reading — 14.2 — but is still well within the normal range.

The next scheduled sampling is set to occur in October 2021.

Lamprecht also shared information about radon testing.

“You may have also recently seen on KARE 11 an expose on radon testing — or the lack thereof — in Minnesota school districts,” he said. “There is now legislation proposed to mandate this testing. We have a schedule for radon testing in place every six years, with the latest testing taking place in 2012 and the next testing scheduled for fall of this year. Our results back in 2012 were good, with no findings at all.”

The board also approved the student teaching contract between Southwest Minnesota State University and Marshall Public Schools.

As part of the consent agenda, the board also granted preliminary consideration to the Cheer Club student group and authorized the MHS activities director to grant final approval per the conditions of the policy.

“Basically, it says they support it on their own and then we evaluate it after a couple of years and see how it’s going,” Monson said. “From my understanding, it was eliminated because of lack of interest years ago.”

Lamprecht said that students have “so many more options” to take part in since that time.

Administrative assistant Tricia Stelter recalls that numbers really went down when dance line was added.

While Cheerleading Club will be the general name, it may also be casually referred to as the Cheer Squad. It’s purpose will be to build self-esteem and skill of its members, to build performance and teamwork skills and to promote school spirit and encourage athletes.