DC parents seek action in addressing lead in water at schools, public facilities

FOX 5 pushed for answers and change is now coming to all D.C. Public Schools. A D.C. Council hearing was held Wednesday to focus on lead found in drinking water at schools and other public facilities.

Recent tests have detected lead in six percent of drinking sources and parents are demanding city leaders to take action.

Several council members admitted Wednesday that the District has let parents down and said this health problem must be addressed now.

D.C. announced Tuesday that they will install filters on all drinking water sources at public schools, public libraries and recreation centers, which will cost millions to implement and maintain.

The councilmembers were visibly frustrated over recent tests that showed out of the 2,400 drinking fountains tested, 35 of them had lead levels that were not acceptable.

"My daughter's own school had a water fountain that tested positive," said D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6). "The library where she was drinking out of the water fountain this weekend just reported testing positive. As a parent, I get it. As a council member though, I talk with these families and I know that we have to make sure they have confidence that they are having safe drinking water for their kids no matter where they are - the library, the rec center, at school."

Parents told the D.C. Council filters need to be on all drinking sources by the beginning of the school year, and if those sources don't have filters, they should be shut down.

Councilmember Mary Cheh even took it a step further by saying that D.C. needs to establish an environmental report card for schools and other public buildings. This would not only test the water, but also paint and anything else in a building that might harm a person.

A DC Water Spokesperson tells Fox 5 that lead was never in the water source.

John Lisle wrote to Matt Ackland on Twitter saying, " Problem in early 2000's was how the water interacted with lead pipes and fixtures, causing lead to leach into water. Aqueduct added orthophosphate to inhibit corrosion and it has been very successful at controlling lead levels. However, problem then and now is existence of lead pipes and fixtures."