Lead in School Water, Part 1 (of Who Knows How Many)?

Several things below that may be of interest in the run-up to the June council hearing on lead in school water (no date yet):

1. A primer on lead in water strategies and questions created by parents at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan for use by other concerned public school parents, including sussing out the testing schedule of school water sources; what lead levels are considered elevated; prior years’ results; and the actual source of lead (device and/or pipes).

2. A comprehensive lead in water website of Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan, with details about that school’s lead in water testing and how the results were communicated (or not).

3. On Thursday May 19th, at 5:30 pm, Miner Elementary (601 15th St. NE) will host an open forum in its cafeteria on testing for lead in school water. Representatives from DCPS and DGS (Department of General Services) will answer questions. [Update 5/16/16: forum has been moved to Wednesday, May 25th, at 6 pm]

4. Given that DCPS schools are the only DC public schools whose water is tested regularly, DCPS took the brunt of recent bad publicity regarding high lead levels in school water sources.

But now, the silence surrounding testing for lead in water in DC charter schools–which educate nearly half of DC’s public school children–has been broken!

According to a blog posting last week on the charter board website, 71 of 114 total charter schools have tested their water for lead. Of those 71 charter schools tested, nine had devices with elevated water lead levels: DC Prep, Benning Elementary; Howard University Middle School; Maya Angelou high school; Kingsman; LAMB; E. L. Haynes middle school; Harmony; Somerset Prep; and Yu Ying.

The charter board blog post noted that each school with affected devices shut off them and substituted other water sources, while being retested.

It is not clear whether this testing is part of regular water testing done by charter schools (nor what the testing regimes and methodologies consist of, important factors in identifying problems and solutions). Nor is it clear how those results will be communicated to all DC parents, especially those considering those schools for their children.

The charter board promised a detailed report at the June council hearing.

Stay tuned . . .

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