According to a media release, APS began its water testing initiative last spring in response to reports of lead in the drinking water in a handful of cities nationally, such as Flint, Michigan and Washington, D.C. The district contracted with two independent environmental firms to conduct the tests, which involved taking samples from 25 water sources in all 113 APS-owned facilities.
This past July, at the halfway point of the testing process, APS reported that over 97 percent of the water sources tested district-wide met the EPA standard. Since then, the issues with the remaining three (3) percent have been resolved. Now, all of the water sources have been cleared and meet the federal standard of being below the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) for public water systems. This is even more stringent than the EPA’s action level for schools, which is 20 ppb.
Moving forward, the district is establishing protocols and procedures for addressing the buildup of lead in the water systems of its facilities. This includes:
· Closely following EPA-recommended guidelines for flushing all water sources in all school facilities that have been unoccupied by students and staff for longer than seven days.
· Development of a regular testing schedule, whereby water sources in district facilities are tested on an ongoing basis.
· Continuing to work with the City of Atlanta on any water testing initiatives.
“I am proud that our school district was the first in metro Atlanta to take the proactive step to test our water and ensure that it is in compliance with EPA standards,” APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said. “As always, the safety and well-being of our students, employees, and visitors to any of our facilities is paramount. The public can be assured that we take that responsibility very seriously.”