MCPS takes action to reduce lead in water

April 1, 1989, midnight | 35 years, 2 months ago

The following is an article reprinted from the April 1989 issue of MCPS's Bulletin.

Montgomery County Public Schools took the initiative to test all the water coolers in the countywide facilities and found that a majority of the coolers have lead levels that are safe, according to current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.

Of the 1,113 water coolers tested, 756 had safe lead levels. The 356 remaining coolers had lead levels in excess of current and recommended EPA guidelines. These coolers were rendered inoperable during spring break so that further analysis and corrective actions may be done to insure the continued safety of drinking water.

"Children in Montgomery County are not considered at high risk for lead toxicity," said Marin Wasserman, director of the Montgomery County Health Department. "While it is important to reduce excessive lead levels in Montgomery County water, it is less urgent than in an at-risk urban environment because of exposure to the major sources which contribute to the bulk of ingested lead—lead paint and contaminated dust and soil."

Current EPA standards require water coolers with lead levels greater than 50 parts per billion (ppb) to be rendered inoperable. MCPS test results reveal 120 coolers to be in excess of 50 ppb.

Recommendations currently being discussed by EPA suggest the lead level be reduced to 20 ppb, and that coolers having readings greater than 20 ppb be rendered inoperable until measures have been taken to reduce the lead level. Some 230 additional MCPS coolers have lead levels in excess of 20 ppb.

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