After a routine state testing program reported elevated levels of lead in the water from a Tisbury School hand-washing sink last week, the school has switched to bottled water for all drinking and cooking, according to an announcement from town building inspector Ross Seavey.

Tisbury’s overall water supply is safe, Mr. Seavey wrote, citing town-wide testing that he said has not turned up lead levels higher than state or federal thresholds for potable water.

“[T]here may be elevated lead levels within the Tisbury School’s pipes and/or faucets,” he wrote. The hand-washing sink in question was not in a student area, and was not used for drinking or food preparation, according to the announcement.

In response to the report from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Mr. Seavey said the school will use only bottled water for cooking and drinking, while lead testing continues on all of the school’s faucets and water fountains.

Meanwhile, signs will be posted indicate that running water is only for hand-washing, which Mr. Seavey said is safe because lead does not easily enter the body through skin.

All of the building’s pipes will be replaced as part of the school rebuilding project, Mr. Seavey wrote. Construction is set to begin after the end of classes in June.

“We all look forward to welcoming students and staff to a completely lead- free Tisbury School at the completion of the school renovation project. but will carry out all activities necessary to ensure no occupant of the Tisbury School is exposed to lead levels above threshold standards,” he wrote.

Vineyard Montessori head of school Debbie Jernegan told the Gazette that as soon as she received the state report last week, she immediately shut down all her school's sinks and had bottled water delivered.

"They only test one sink. That doesn't mean other sinks aren't in the same position," she said.

"We’ve ordered filters and new sink fixtures," Ms. Jernegan said. "We’re also going to test the water at the point of entry into the building ... after we replace the faucets and put in the filtration system."

— Louisa Hufstader