As a Councilmember and also a dad, I find the news about lead in drinking water at DCPS schools totally infuriating. There is no safe level of lead and we all should feel a sense of urgency about getting to the bottom of how this happened and why parents weren’t notified immediately.
I have talked with Chancellor Henderson and DGS Director Chris Weaver about the testing and notification process and I’m not satisfied that the city has done everything we should to make sure parents can have full confidence in the safety of the water in our schools. DGS has committed to retesting every water source at every school and DCPS has committed to notifying parents when above-limit results are found.
I have talked with my Council colleagues Mary Cheh and David Grosso, and I’m looking forward to the joint hearing their Committees will hold in June with the whole range of city agencies involved in lead testing, remediation, parent notification, and student health.
I don’t think our current testing protocols are thorough enough or far enough reaching. We need to look at expanding testing to our DPR Recreation Centers, city-owned athletic fields, and libraries, as well as ensuring charter schools also have trusted testing protocols. Parents deserve full confidence that the water their children drink is safe and if it’s not, that the appropriate actions are taken immediately to notify them and fix the problem.
For more information, you can find DC Department of General Services water sampling results for DC schools here and more about lead from the District Department of Energy & Environment.
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