It is a concern to parents that many schools in Florida tested positive for lead in recent water testings. The schools were selected randomly with four out of five schools having high levels of lead in their water.
It is a known fact that high levels of lead are not suitable for cooking let alone drinking as lead is a heavy metal that can cause damage to the body. So far the schools that have tested positive for lead include Cleveland Court elementary, Winston Academy of Engineering, Inwood Elementary and Union Academy. Polk Avenue Elementary came out negative in the test results.
The random tests reiterates the importance of applying measures that will control water intake in schools for the sake of students’ healthy living. It was found that the older the school the higher the possibility of finding lead in their water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that,
“[i]n children, low levels of [lead] exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.”
Despite EPA standards being 20 parts per billion for safe drinking water, some schools in Florida tested 25 times higher which is dangerous to the students and people taking the water. Winston Academy of Engineering had the highest lead levels with 1400 parts per billion testing positive. The areas that were most affected were dormant sinks and fountains inside the classrooms.
Although lead testing can be costly (between $800 and $1000 per school i.e. c. $150,000 per county schools), the EPA recommends that continuous testing of water should be carried out in schools to discover any pipes that should be replaced for safe water drinking in institutions of learning.
In other news, the EPA awarded the State of Maine $23,531,000 to upgrade their municipal sewerage and public drinking water systems. The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) grants will ensure that the community uses clean water. This could include the use of water filters, for example.
It is also hoped that the fund will make it possible to reduce the level of lead in schools. Furthermore, the CWSRF will be necessary for upgrading water infrastructure by replacing water pipes that have high lead levels.
As it is crucial to focus on clean water by treating pump stations and sewer lines in the United States, EPA offers grants to states to improve the water and sewer infrastructure for quality water to the community. In a similar vein, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) are mandated to ensure that there is safe water to the community. Hence, the $23,531,000 grant was a combination of $12,424,000 from the DEP and $11,107,000 from the DHHS.
The EPA is committed to developing infrastructures that will meet community needs through clean and safe drinking water.. Since 1987, Revolving Loan Funds (SRFs) have financed circa 38,000 infrastructures and 14,000 drinking water projects, providing $160 billion as grants to assists in dealing with the issue of contaminated drinking water.