NewAPS-LogoAt the midway point of the Atlanta Public Schools voluntary water testing initiative, 97 percent of the water sources (drinking fountains and bathroom, kitchen and classroom faucets) tested have met U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for safety in reference to the presence of lead.

In total, initial testing has been completed on 2,817 water sources in 113 APS buildings. Initial results have come back for 67 buildings, including 60 school sites. The results showed elevated levels of lead in 45 of 1,667 water sources. That means that of these initial results, 97.3 percent of the water sources passed with 42 of the district’s school sites meeting EPA standards in all of the tested water sources in those schools.

Of the 25 school sites that showed elevated levels of lead on the first test, seven passed after a re-test. The remaining 18 are awaiting retesting results or facility upgrades such as replacing of faucets or other plumbing fixtures.

“We made the decision to be proactive in making sure that the water in all of our facilities is safe,” said APS Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen in a media statement. “We owe it to our parents, students and employees to provide them with learning and working environments that are clean, safe and secure.”

Two private, independent and certified environmental testing consultants have been hired to conduct the EPA standards testing. The work will be concluded before the beginning of the new school year.

If there are any additional elevated levels of lead found in buildings, APS is implementing corrective actions and developing a plan to provide safe water for students and employees in every building. Test results are coming in daily and remediations are being made throughout the summer.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.