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Fort Worth ISD Water Testing Program (UPDATED 08/16/16)
Fort Worth, Texas – This summer the Fort Worth ISD, in a proactive initiative, partnered with the City of Fort Worth Water Department to measure the impact of lead in school drinking water.
“Recent national news stories have emphasized the need for all of us to be aware of potential issues that can be an impediment to a child’s ability to learn and to their health,” said Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Dr. Kent P. Scribner. “Our testing program has provided us with important information that we will be sharing with our families, employees and the general community.”
There is no local, state or federal requirement to test school drinking water for lead contamination. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines recommend schools take action when water samples show 20 parts per billion of lead. The Fort Worth ISD, in an abundance of caution, is using the lower number of 15 parts per billion as an action level for making changes.
Initial sampling and testing of drinking water at Fort Worth ISD schools indicated that some lead levels exceeded recommended EPA levels. In many instances retesting showed that flushing the lines (many of which had been dormant over the summer months) improved the test result to more acceptable levels.
“Testing allowed us to identify older style water fixtures, such as water fountains, that were causing some higher than expected sampling levels,” said District Chief of Operations Art Cavazos. “We have begun a program of removing and replacing those fixtures across the District. Our subsequent sampling has shown this to be an effective measure to return lead levels to below the recommended EPA action levels.”
The District will make all testing data available to parents, guardians and the general public as the data becomes available.
Immediate remedial actions taken by the Fort Worth ISD in those cases where drinking water sources exceeded the recommended action level (15 ppb):
- Identified the potential source of the contamination (water service lines, older style water fountains, certain types of faucets, connectors or solder)
- Removed or replaced the potential source of contamination
- Retested the water source
- If the source continues to present a higher level of lead the source is shut off and removed from service.
- Tested other water sources in close proximity to the disconnected source to ensure no cross-contamination
- Implemented a daily “flushing” program by custodial personnel before the school day begins
- Re-emphasized the need for faucet “flushing” in food preparation areas
- Lead exposure can come from a variety of sources. Older homes may contain lead water service lines, or fixtures or solder that contains lead. Lead-based paint is often found in older homes or multi-family complexes. Soil in and around older factories or industrial areas, as well as wind-blown dust from those areas, may be contaminated with lead.
Additional sources of information regarding lead contamination may be found at:
- City of Fort Worth Department - http://fortworthtexas.gov/water/
- Tarrant County Public Health - http://access.tarrantcounty.com/en/public-health.html
- Department of State Health Services - https://www.dshs.texas.gov/info/
- Environmental Protection Agency - https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-drinking-water-schools-and-child-care-facilities Centers for Disease Control - http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/
>> We encourage parents with questions or concerns to call our "Parent Info Line" at 817-814-2070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FORT WORTH ISD WATER TESTING PROTOCOL
All water samples collected from schools and District facilities under the Fort Worth ISD Water Testing Program are collected in accordance with the procedures set forth in the October, 2006, 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools, published by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s “3Ts” publication can be accessed by clicking here.
This document suggests that schools establish a partnership with the local water supplier, in this case the City of Fort Worth Water Department. City personnel assisted with the training of the Fort Worth ISD Environmental staff and two members of the plumbing staff on proper collection techniques and assuring the proper chain of custody for the samples.
After collection, water samples were taken to the City of Fort Worth Centralized Water Department Laboratory located at 2600 SE Loop 820. Results are still being returned, through email, to Fort Worth ISD and posted to www.fwisd.org as they are received.