14 out of 22 schools tested have found lead contamination above the state action level
In Baltimore, 14 schools tested positive for lead contamination in at least one water fixture since Jan. 7. Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) revealed that 14 out of 22 schools tested–more than half–found fixtures with lead contamination above Maryland’s action level of 20 ppb.
According to The Baltimore Sun, BCPs has been testing drinking fountains for lead since 2016, but began a state-mandated testing on all potential drinking water sources during the 2018-2019 school year. Any drinking water source with lead levels above the state action level was turned off.
“We knew the testing was coming so it’s not like students have been drinking from these fixtures,” said Brandon Oland, a spokesman for BCPS.
BCPS schools built before 1990 have been drinking bottled water since 2016, reported The Baltimore Sun. All water fixtures that tested positive for lead contamination have been shut down and the schools have put in work orders to have the fixtures replaced. Bottled water will continue to be provided at those schools.
Oakleigh Elementary, Orems Elementary, Cromwell Valley Elementary, Middlesex Elementary, Oliver Beach Elementary, Pleasant Plains Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Winfield Elementary, Rodgers Forge Elementary, Mars Estates Elementary, McCormick Elementary, Winand Elementary and Charlesmont Elementary all tested positive for lead contamination above the state action level in two or more water fixtures. The Battle Monument school tested positive in one water fixture. Notably, before this round of testing, no BCPS school had tested positive for lead above the state action level in more than eight fixtures.
BCPS expects the school system will complete lead testing by the end of the school year.