Water tests ordered at DC schools after elevated lead levels found

WASHINGTON — Every school in D.C. is about to have a water test following the discovery of elevated levels of lead in the water at three elementary schools.

“Outrageous” is the word one city leader used to characterize annual tests for lead done in D.C. schools previously.

“They use a sampling method, and so they weren’t testing all of the water sources,” said David Grosso, chair of the D.C. Council’s Education Committee. “It’s outrageous to me that we’re at the position now where there is some question of whether or not we tested all of the water sources in all of the schools.”

Within the next 60 days, tests will be conducted at every city public and charter school building on every water source including fountains, kitchen sinks and hose spigots.

D.C. officials planned to contact the parents of students who attend Miner Elementary School, Payne Elementary School and Capitol Hill Montessori School to coordinate testing for lead poisoning.

“There’s no way that we can take enough precaution. We have to do more and more and more to make sure that our children aren’t exposed to elevated levels of lead,” Grosso said. “We don’t want to have children exposed to lead. It makes their learning opportunity even harder than it already is.”

The test results will be revealed in June at a joint public hearing with the at-large councilman’s Education Committee and the Committee on Transportation and the Environment. Grosso vows that all parties will be held accountable.

“The city, the Department of the Environment, the Department of General Services, DCPS and the Charter Schools,” he said.

Department of General Services spokesman Kenneth Diggs told The Associated Press that the agency tests all water fountains annually for possible lead contamination. He said that if elevated lead levels were discovered, the agency would shut off the water supply, install a filter or replace the pipes and retest the waters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

© 2016 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up