Blount Commissioners give Important Lead Updates

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BLOUNT COUNTY, TENNESSEE – The Blount County Commission and Board of Education addressed synthetic turf and lead concerns today on August 18th, 2022. Commissioners lead to believe contaminated water sources are only sinks.

To begin, the Board of Commissioners addressed all incumbent members who stepped down on August 4th, 2022. Following, those who have been newly appointed for the next four-year term were recognized.

Main Discussions

All commissioners have been tackling replacing New Heritage High School’s and William Blount High School’s football fields with synthetic turf. Following, school lead concerns have been on the rise in Blount County Schools. As well as solid roof repairs for several schools within the districts.

Lead Concern Updates

Commissioner Bennett addressed Troy Logan and James Duke directly involving the Blount County Schools lead concerns.

James Duke said, “Back in Spring of this year, we had a grant to do lead testing in all of our potential water sources. When the results came back then, I’m glad to say all bottle filler water sources in County Schools came back the least contaminated. We did engage with TDeck this new year for the nonconforming water sources. Most of the sources of lead sinks can be regulated. However, there is potential for students to drink from the sink water during science labs and for teachers to, for example, use the sink water for coffee filling so we are taking precautions.”

Then, Commissioners lead to address more safety precautions.

Continuing, James Duke said, “After we got the results back from the sinks, TDeck suggested a correction plan. This correction plan includes breaking down the sink pipes and flushing out the systems for retesting. We are still waiting for the retest results currently on the second round of testing. Once those tests are received, if they are below the lead levels then I will turn on those sinks again. If not, then we will continue to engage with TDeck about further correction. We can remove the water sources or institute monthly flushing of the water sources. Every one of the bottle fillers for students tested zero levels of lead. We have installed more bottle fillers for minimal costs as well.”

Adding, James Duke said,”44% of the nonconforming water sources were science lab sinks. This is why I suggested the monthly flushing of those sinks for no lead contamination.”

Building Repairs

Currently, there are two projects being implemented for AC repairs. The new AC units will replace all broken units and will bring Heritage Schools up to temperature standards. Additionally, all old water source heat pumps will be replaced.

The roof repairs are priority at Fairview, Heritage Middle School, and William Blount Knight. Contractors have started the new designs of those roofing repairs.

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