News - DeKalb County

Water in DeKalb, Sycamore schools tests positive for lead contamination

Tyler Elementary School in DeKalb  is shown on Friday. An email was sent to parents after tests show the presence of lead in the school's water.

DeKALB – Testing of water at a dozen school buildings in DeKalb and Sycamore has revealed elevated levels of lead, according to reports from District 428 and District 427.

Sycamore schools where lead content from sinks was found to exceed standards established by the Illinois Department of Public Health were:

• North Elementary School in Sycamore

• North Grove Elementary

• South Prairie Elementary

• West Elementary

In DeKalb, schools where unsafe lead levels were detected were:

• Clinton-Rosette Middle School

• Huntley Middle School, which houses the Early Learning and Development Center

• Tyler Elementary

• Founders Elementary

• Jefferson Elementary

• Littlejohn Elementary

• Lincoln Elementary

• Malta Elementary

Tammy Carson, director of facility operations with D-428, said in a letter sent to parents Friday that samples from sinks in eight classrooms at Tyler Elementary School had lead levels greater than 5 parts per billion. Some of them were nearly 10 times the district’s action level of 15 parts per billion, at which repairs are considered necessary.

Lead is a poison that affects virtually every system in the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is particularly harmful to the developing brains and nervous systems of young children.

A law signed by Gov. Brucer Rauner in January 2017 required Illinois public schools housing students up to fifth-grade and built before 1987 to test their water by the end of 2017. Those built in 1987 and after must do them by the end of this year.

Samples must be sent to an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency-accredited lab, and test results will be sent the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The state requires that any potable water source that tests at more than 20 parts per billion must be remediated, meaning fixing pipes and other infrastructure.