School officials decided to shift to filter installation and not test for lead in 2016
95% of all school water fountains in New Orleans have installed lead removal filters, according to NOLA Public Schools. According to The Louisiana Weekly, this means the school district has almost met the Aug. 1 deadline for filter installation made by the district.
“By Aug. 1, 2019, all school facilities being occupied by students will have had water filters installed on the vast majority of the water fountains within the school,” the district said in a statement issued Wednesday, July 31.
The three-year project to protect students in New Orleans schools now is nearing its end, according to The Louisiana Weekly. The project began in 2016, when officials decided to shift to filter installation and not test for lead. The district then chose and hired a filter contractor. Lastly, they had multiple installation issues, including low water pressure causing some drinking fountains to be unusable after filters were installed.
“All previously installed water filters that were disconnected due to low water pressure have been reconnected,” the statement said, according to The Louisiana Weekly. “In total, 784 water filters at 83 schools have been installed, which means 95% of all the water fountains in our facilities are now filtered.”
The district planned to install filters that eliminate harmful microbes that may have been introduced during boil-water advisories in order to obtain pure water. According to The Louisiana Weekly, the advisories have cancelled school before.
During the project, the children may have been at risk for lead exposure, Lead Safe Executive Director Gail Fendley said.
“We congratulate OPSB for installing the filters and sincerely hope the mechanism is in place to make sure they are monitored and replaced according to the manufacturer’s guidelines,” Fendley said, according to The Louisiana Weekly.
Currently, the district is working with schools to ensure repairs on water filter installation are completed and filters are installed in water fountains before students return to school, according to The Louisiana Weekly.