Healthy and Safe Pinehurst

March 8, 2017

A man named Brian French called our school today to talk about a report I sent to him up in Salem in November. He works for the Oregon Department of Education and his job is to make sure every public school in Oregon meets safe standards regarding lead in the water, lead abatement in paint, radon levels and pure drinking water. He also makes sure we follow very strict requirements to insure the management of pests and the containment of dangerous chemicals in our school buildings and on the campus.

His office used to also enforce rules about the presence of asbestos in buildings, as well. Years ago we paid our custodian, Jon Arndt, to don a Space Suit and bag all our asbestos. Soon, Jon left to become an artist, but made his name at Pinehurst as the man who made us asbestos free.

Brian longs to keep us free of other threats.  He requests that I keep the community posted of how the battle is going.

So here is my report:

  1. Our school water comes from three deep wells. The old well is located under the pump house and irrigates the school yard lawn.  The new well is west of the pump house up a bit from the traffic circle and that’s the one that brings the school, annex and art center drinking water.  Down at the playing field is, well, the playing field well.  When Pinehurst School was built in 1930, water was supplied by the Henry Lumber Mill at Lincoln from the Lincoln Spring which is located about one mile above Lincoln south of the highway.  Sometime probably in the 1960,s the steel pipes from the mill rusted and the school board decided to dig the old well.  The other two followed in the last thirty years.
  2. We test the water every three months for purity.  It has been a long time since we failed a test.  About ten or fifteen years ago, we failed the well tests because coliform and fecal coliform were found in the water.  Back then cows often broke through the fence or crashed the cattle guards and not long after, the water became tainted.  For a few years we had to treat the water with ultra violet rays.  But the cows left and now the water and is sweet and clean.
  3. We check for lead and copper every three years.  The last test was in September of 2016 and we are happy to report very little of these metals in our water.
  4. As for lead in the paint:  it is certainly there, as it was in all paint until the 1980s.  But it is contained and thus deemed not a hazard.  But if ever we start tearing out old painted surfaces we must follow very strict regulations to insure the dust from the paint is contained.
  5. Our handyman, Glen Mitts, is a trained, certified Integrated Pest Management implementer.  Watch out ants, mice, skunks, lice, insecticides, herbicides, fungus, mold, renegade bacteria and deadly fumes!  Glen is death to all harmful vermin, vectors and enemy chemicals.  He gets a gold star from Brian French!
  6. That leaves radon.  What radon?  I called around to some usual suspects in the education world to see if I could borrow a radon detector for a few weeks.  No one has one. No one admitted to having a radon abatement program.  I relaxed on this one today because Brian  said I don’t have to measure our radon amount until 2021.   So the plan is to wait until 2021 and then call around to see if anyone has a radon detector. Meanwhile, does anyone have a deer-about-to-dash-in-front-of-the-car-at-Mile18-detector?  I’d like Brian to add deer on the windshield to the threat list for us mountain dwellers

Happily, our school house is safe, the water clean, the chemicals under lock and key and the critters at bay. Thank you, Brian. On with teaching the kiddos!