District Takes Proactive Steps to Ensure High-Quality Drinking Water is Available at All Schools
Facilities Team Set to Install New Bi-level Filtered, High Efficiency Coolers and Bottle Water Filling Stations at All District Schools
PITTSBURGH, June 13, 2016 – While no federal law requires the testing of drinking water for lead, Superintendent Linda Lane has instructed facilities staff to proactively test the drinking water in all District facilities. In addition to testing lead levels and addressing any issues that are found, District facilities staff will install three to six new bi-level filtered, high efficiency fountain and bottle filling stations at all schools, providing students and staff access to chilled high-quality drinking water. Voluntary lead testing and the installation of the new water fountains will begin simultaneously June 14th and be completed throughout the summer prior to the start of school.
“Given the circumstances taking place across the country, we knew we had to ensure the highest quality of drinking water is accessible in our schools, even though there are no local, state or federal laws mandating districts to do so,” said Superintendent Linda Lane. The health and safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance. We are committed to addressing any issues that arise and completing a transparent process.”
Testing of 70 District facilities will begin tomorrow and start with facilities in use to support summer programming and then facilities serving the District’s youngest children. Any fixtures found to have elevated levels of lead, more than 20 parts per billion (ppb), the District will immediately shut-off problem fixtures, post signage, deliver bottled water for drinking and notify families and any current permit holders. A complete report of findings will be available in late August. The District is working closely with local water authorities and the Allegheny County Health Department.
“We are very pleased to see Pittsburgh Public Schools taking a proactive approach to lead testing its water. Any source of lead is problematic for children particularly those between birth and 2 years of age,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “However, we want to remind the public that our chief lead risk in Allegheny County is paint dust and chips in homes built before 1978.”