Update: Public Charter School Lead Testing Results

The DC Public Charter School Board sent the following letter to Charter School Leaders about lead in charter school facilities:  

Like you we consider the health and safety of our students to be our foremost priority.  The DC Public Charter School Board recently tested or asked you to provide documentation of recent lead testing results for all your water sources and asked you to install filters wherever there was elevated lead levels higher than 15 parts per billion (ppb), whether it was a drinking fountain or classroom sink.

Thanks to your cooperation, we are happy to report that all public charter schools have been tested and all affected public charter schools have notified families and are remediating affected water sources.  

This letter is to thank you and to inform you about the city’s new lead testing policy.

This week the American Academy of Pediatrics determined that any lead sources testing at or above 1 ppb (parts per billion) was not safe for children.  The city will move to incorporate a 1 ppb level for lead results on all drinking water sources in DC Public Schools, public libraries, and recreation centers. 

The city has decided to not test every water source every year, but will install a filter on every drinking source.  This means that every water fountain, kitchen sink, sinks in nurse’s suites, classroom’s, etc. in DC Public Schools will have a filter installed by the city.

While the mandate does not cover public charter schools, we highly recommend that every public charter request to have filters installed.  Additionally, for all public charter schools the city will cover the cost of the initial installation of filters on their drinking sources.  We will send details about the funding soon. 

For any school that installs a filter on every drinking source, we will only require infrequent “spot” testing in the future.  Schools that do not install filters are required to test and report to us their lead levels at every drinking source each year.  We will develop the details of the testing requirement in the coming months with environmental experts and with input from school leaders.

This morning we are testifying at the Committee on Education and the Committee on Transportation and the Environment’s joint oversight hearing on lead testing in public facilities. Read her testimony here. You can find the results of lead testing at all DC public charter schools here. You can learn more about the city-wide approach to lead testing at oca.dc.gov/lead.

 

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