Lead-Leaching Fixtures Still in Schools

Montgomery to Retest Before Replacing Any

Montgomery County has yet to replace any of the thousands of school plumbing fixtures found to have high levels of lead and might not begin remediation of the problem until the end of the school year, officials said.

The county has spent the past five months testing lead levels in every public school water source, including drinking fountains, janitors' sinks and hose bibs. Initial results show that at least some sources in every school have impermissibly high levels and that fixtures, not pipes or the water itself, are the cause of the contamination.

But Richard Hawes, Montgomery schools' director of facility management, said the county will not begin to replace fixtures until it has retested the approximately 27,000 sources in the schools.

Va. Detainee in Hamas Probe Is Freed

Potential Witness Picked Up Over Bridge Video

An Annandale man jailed for 10 days as a witness in an investigation of the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, was released on $1 million bond Monday after a closed proceeding in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Ismael Selim Elbarasse, who was detained after police said they saw his wife videotaping the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, was freed after he and others posted their homes as collateral to ensure his appearance before a grand jury in Chicago, where he is wanted as a witness, his attorneys said.

Delay Costs WSSC Nearly $1 Million

Staff Says Savings From Measure Have Shrunk

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission will lose about $900,000 in savings because the chairman of its governing board has repeatedly delayed approval of a cost-cutting measure commonly used in the construction industry, agency officials said.

The procedure, called construction management at-risk, would have saved $3.9 million on a $79 million renovation of the Potomac Water Filtration Plant, according to agency staff members. Because of the delays, staff said, the measure will now save about $3 million if it is approved.

Pepper Spray Causes Downtown Scare

1,500 Evacuated as Terror Threat Feared

The accidental release of pepper spray in a downtown building sickened dozens of people and triggered a massive response by authorities worried about a terrorist attack or chemical spill.

Scores of firefighters and police officers responded to the lunch-hour scare Wednesday in the 1900 block of I Street NW, just blocks from the World Bank and headquarters of the International Monetary Fund.

About 1,500 people evacuated the building, which has restaurants and shops and covers much of the block between I and K streets NW.

Pr. George's Responds to Crime Wave

Police Increase Presence After 9 Killings in 6 Days

Prince George's County police commanders pledged to station more uniformed officers for longer hours along the county's most dangerous streets after a spate of violence that left nine people dead in six days.

The 1,200-member department -- whose staffing levels have gradually fallen in the past two years -- will be bolstered with overtime assignments and reallocation of resources, including the use of undercover detectives and narcotics officers in the areas where "crime seems to be the greatest," said Deputy Chief Jeffrey Cox.

Across the Region

Metro Prepares Passengers; SAT Scores Increase

* Metro will begin training a select group of commuters this month in ways to evacuate trains and subway tunnels and to help fellow passengers during a terrorist attack or rail disaster.

* Several Washington area school systems improved their scores on the SAT, including those of the District, Falls Church and the counties of Anne Arundel, Arlington, Calvert, Charles, Fairfax, Howard, Montgomery and Stafford, according to results released Tuesday.

Back to the books: In Columbia, Stevens Forest fourth-graders were among the students who returned to school Monday.