Houston ISD is announcing a new initiative to make sure your child isn’t drinking lead at school water fountains.
On Wednesday, HISD held an event to highlight the process it’s making in protecting schoolchildren from lead in drinking water. HISD will begin a project to add bottle-filling stations with lead filters and work with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on an initiative for new lead testing of school drinking water.
“We applaud HISD for prioritizing the health and safety of our children,” Michael Lewis, a Clean Air and Water advocate of Environment Texas Research and Policy Center, said. “Everyone who goes into a school, whether student or faculty, should have access to clean and safe drinking water.”
In a January 2022 report, TexPIRG Education Fund, Environment Texas Research & Policy Center and Coalition of Community Organizations (COCO) examined over 250 individual school testing reports for elementary, middle, and high schools.
HISD collected samples from all water fountains and one component in all kitchens.
The results of the tests were alarming, as lead was found in at least one water tap at 84% of the schools tested. While HISD did remediate taps at 34 schools that had high levels of lead, a December 2021 review of the district’s website for lead testing showed no action was taken to address the lower levels of lead in schools’ water across the district.
“We’re looking forward to continue working with HISD as they begin this project and make our schools safer for our students,” Lewis said during Wednesday’s meeting.
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center also released a toolkit to help families, teachers and school officials get the facts on lead and take action to ensure safe drinking water at school.