PPS begins addressing lead issues in paint, drinking water - KPTV - FOX 12

PPS begins addressing lead issues in paint, drinking water

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In the first major project Portland Public Schools has undertaken to address the massive problem of lead school buildings, the district is giving all of its facilities a new paint job.

According to the district, all 90 of its schools need new paint, although to varying degrees.

Work started in mid-August at James John Elementary, which the district considered the highest priority, because of deteriorating paint.

"The hallways and the classrooms themselves had holes in the wall. Mainly, you know, when a desk would hit it or a cabinet would hit it, it would already dent it in and chip it off. And at that point, kids start picking at it a little bit," said Samantha Ragaisis, James John's principal.

Testing done by an environmental contractor last year found some of the exposed paint was lead-based, which required immediate attention.

The district put together a list of the 20 highest priority schools, which will be addressed throughout the school year, during hours students are not in the buildings.

Work also started in late August to replace water fixtures that tested high for lead, with 15 schools targeted for improvements.

Steve Effron, the district's project manager for the paint remediation said addressing all 90 schools could take 2-3 years.

There is currently no timetable for work on the water systems.

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