Wednesday, June 28, 2017

DC Government uses Lead limit of 1 ppb. Why is PGCPS using a limit of 10 ppb?

PGCPS uses a lead limit of 10 ppb in the water. See below a press release from DC  which uses a limit of 1 ppb. Why is PGCPS using lead limit 10 times higher? 

District Government Adopts New Lead Testing Policy

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
District agencies will support newly released American Academy of Pediatrics action threshold 
(Washington, DC) – Today, Deputy City Administrator Kevin Donahue announced that the Department of General Services will move to incorporate a 1 PPB (part-per-billion) action level for lead tests on drinking water sources in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) centers. The effort comes on the heels of last week’s report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Prevention of Childhood Lead Toxicity, that lead testing resulting in a reading of more than 1 PPB should be immediately remediated.  
“Lead exposure in children is preventable, and we will be working diligently to set policy at our facilities that goes far beyond EPA standards,” said Kevin Donahue, Deputy City Administrator. “By investing the time, training, and resources to follow the new recommendations outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, we will ensure that the District continues to do everything it can to protect our children, and limit students’ exposure to lead.”
Under the current operating policy, drinking water sources in District public schools and recreation centers testing at or above 15 PPB are fitted with a filter or taken out of operation. The sources are returned to operation once follow-up testing yields a clean reading. Following recent findings of lead in water at a small number of schools, District officials completed testing of all water sources at every single District of Columbia Public School and recreation center, per the direction of Mayor Muriel Bowser. This newly implemented policy will bring a more rigorous approach to the testing. 
The new policy is estimated to cost the District nearly $2 million at the onset, which includes the installation of filters on all drinking water sources at public schools, public libraries, and recreation centers. Implementation is expected to be completed this calendar year. The District will also work with District of Columbia Public Charter Schools and District of Columbia Public Libraries to install filters on drinking water sources. The expected annual cost of $1.5 million will support regular testing, maintenance, and supplies for District of Columbia Public Schools and recreation centers.
This policy is slated to be included in Deputy City Administrator Donahue’s testimony before the Council of the District of Columbia’s Committees on Education and Transportation and the Environment on Wednesday, June 22. For more information on lead testing and exposure in the District visit

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lead Tests For PGCPS & Key Documents Concerning Lead in PGCPS Water

2011 -2012 PGCPS Lead Level testing
PGCPS Lead Testing Done in 2014  
Key Documents
September 7, 2016: PGCPS Response to my question about remediation and their attached Document entitled Lead in Water Program PGCPS

ALERT: Spring PGCPS Water Testing Shows High Lead Levels in DOZENS of Schools

unless you have confirmation it is lead free.
Talk to your child's doctor about getting a lead test done now. 
Recent Testing has found high levels of lead in PGCPS schools. 

We were just sent PGCPS lead water testing results from water testing done over the last few months after we filed a public information request. The test data we were sent confirms the fact that children and staff have been drinking water with lead levels that exceed EPA limits in many many schools. 

Why didn't PGCPS take action last year, when this issue came to light and parents began writing the county? Why did they wait? What aren't parents notified about this?

Please see the water testing results by clicking here. 
Read the letter that PGCPS sent me concerning these test levels.

Note, In their cover letter, PGCPS stated that some of these schools were on bottled water since 2009. This is noted with an asterix. We are not entirely sure this is the case because the bathroom sinks are still on and as far as we know there are not signs stating the water is for washing only.

Fort Washington forest *
Apple Grove Elementary,
Bond Mill Elementary*
C E Regional school,
Capitol Heights Elementary*
Chapel Forge,

Frances Fuchs (PGCPS wrote me that this school was on bottled water since 2009)
Gaywood Elementary*,
Glassmaker Elementary,
Heather Hills *
Issac J Gourdine Middle *
Frank Dent Elementary,
James Duckworth Elementary,
Jessie B Mason*
John Howard Elementary*
Margaret Brent Regional*
Maya Angelou French Immersion, 
Montpelier Elementary *
Oxen Hill Elementary*
Riverdale Elementary,
Rock ledge High,
Samuel Chase Elementary,

Tall Oaks Vocational*

These schools have lead levels, however the county is NOT remediating them  because of their inadequate and outdated limits which still allow lead levels into the water. 
Judith Hoyer Early Childhood, Exel Academy*
John Hanson Montessori*
As the water was previously turned off we are not sure of now the water is back on?
Cool Springs Elementary and Deerfieldrun Elementay * had levels under 3 

Tests done but lead levels missing from the documents
Pointer Ridge, Potomac High, Robert Godard Elementary , Woodmore Elementary, Dora Kennedy French Immersion

See an example below of lead testing levels found at Maya Angelou French Immersion.

These schools are not the only schools that have lead contaminated water., they are simply the only schools PGCPS has recently tested.  See past lead testing at this link.

Fact: Dozens of other schools have high lead levels that the County HAS NOT addressed adequately. Testing has not been done in years for most PGCPS schools. See past test reports here. 

How do I read these results? 
After the school name you follow the row to the end where there are two columns of numbers, the first number is the lead level when the water was first tried on. The second number is the second water draw after the water ran for a bit. The number is in ppb meaning parts per billion. 

What is a high level? 
The EPA health standard is 0 ppb. Therefore anything over 0 is not safe. HOWEVER PGCPS is using a limit of 10 ppb  , meaning they are allowing up to 10 ppb in their water.

The PGCPS allowable lead level of 10 ppb is NOT safe. 

We do not know how they came up with such a number, Washington DC public schools only allows a lead level of up to 1 ppb.  Read more about lead limits and safety standards here. 

What can I do? 
Contact the county and ask for immediate action. Tell the there is no safe level of lead and they need to immediately act to do the following:
1. PGPCS should set the allowable lead limits to 0ppb.
2. PGCPS should provide unlimited accessible bottled water to all children while fixing the problem.
3. PGCPS should remediate all water sources to 0.
4. Ensure that signs are up in bathrooms and at every water source that has lead contamination so children know not to cup hands and drink water from any faucets which have lead levels above 0.
5. No water source should be used for drinking or food preparation UNLESS a current test shows there is is 0 lead. At this point we must assume all water is lead contaminated until documentation of safety is shown by a current 2017 test.
6.Go to your pediatrician and share the lead tests results from your child's school and get your child tested for lead levels if they have been drinking lead contaminated water.
7. Write your Councilperson, Board member and elected officials asking for immediate action and cc us at