Friday, December 16, 2016
(MILWAUKEE, WI) – Milwaukee Public Schools today released the results of water quality testing of drinking fountains in all district schools and buildings. The testing is strictly a proactive measure; federal and state regulations do not require schools to test drinking water.
The sampling began in June 2016 and two independent, state-certified firms conducted the analysis. The results found that water coming from virtually all MPS drinking fountains meets Environmental Protection Agency’s standards.
"The safety of our students, staff and visitors are a top priority," said MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver. "Nearly 12,000 samples were taken from 191 buildings. This measure helps to assure families, staff and the community of the safety of drinking water in our buildings. We are committed to ensuring we provide a safe environment for students, staff and families.”
Highlights of the analysis included:
- There are no lead service lines leading from the City of Milwaukee's water service into MPS school buildings.
- Ninety-four percent of all drinking fountains tested at levels below the EPA standard of 15ppb (parts per billion).
- There are more than 3,000 water fountains in MPS; 183 had levels above EPA standards.
- Any fixture that tested above EPA standards was immediately turned off. The unit will be replaced and service will resume after the replacement fixture is tested.
"The City of Milwaukee Health Department has aggressively worked to reduce children’s exposure to lead hazards, and can report that we are seeing the lowest levels on record today. As we work to drive down rates even further, we applaud MPS in taking a leadership role by conducting voluntary testing and providing the results to our community,” stated Commissioner of Health Bevan K. Baker. “The City of Milwaukee Health Department worked collaboratively with MPS to develop a testing protocol that can be used as a model by other schools and school districts everywhere."
According to the City of Milwaukee Health Department, the primary source of lead exposure in Milwaukee is through lead-based paint hazards found in homes. Additional sources of lead exposure can be through drinking water, soil, food, toys, and other sources.
The test results can be found on the district's website at mpsmke.com/testresults. With the exception of translating the documents into Spanish for Spanish-speaking families and grouping the results by school to make information easier to find, the results are posted as the district received them. Instructions on the website will assist users in finding the results from any building.
Additional information about childhood lead poisoning can be found by visiting the City of Milwaukee Health Department's website at milwaukee.gov/health or calling the EPA hotline at 1-800-426-4791.