Jul 27, 2021

Lead Found in Drinking Water at Hawai'i Public Schools & Childcare Centers

The water testing returned lead concentrations above the action level of 15 parts per billion.


Hawaiʻi's public schools testing of drinking water found at least 93 faucets and fountains have elevated concentrations of lead.

According to AP News, the contaminated water was found among 2,232 sampled taps at 58 schools on Maui, Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island. The testing on Oʻahu began in July, so the results will be released once they are available.

The testing for both schools and child care centers was done by the Hawai'i Departments of Health, Education and Human Services through the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN) Grant Project.

Lead concentration results for specific schools can be found here.

An additional four taps with elevated levels of lead were found among 100 sampled sources at 70 child care centers in the state, according to the results, reported AP News. According to officials, the results show elevated lead in about 4% of the samples collected thus far.

The water testing returned lead concentrations above the action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb).

According to state officials, the compromised fixtures were taken out of commission and the facilities were notified, reported AP News.

“We would like to assure the community that taps that had elevated levels of lead will not be used for drinking or food preparation until the problem is fixed,” said Michael Miyahira, acting branch chief of the Department of Health’s Safe Drinking Water Branch, in a statement about the testing, reported AP News. “It is important to note that any positive results do not mean there is lead in the water being provided to the school or child care facility from the public water supply departments”

Miyahira added that faucet fixtures may be at fault, but more testing will reveal if plumbing is contributing to the issue.

The state received a $222,000 U.S. EPA grant to do the testing.

According to the Department of Education, it will evaluate plumbing where results show high lead levels and replace fixtures in contaminated areas.

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