by Christianna Tran ‘20
Montgomery County is currently looking into stricter lead standards for all of their public school drinking water, equal to the federal standard for bottled water. In addition, a bill progressing in Maryland’s general assembly would require this change.
Currently many schools have about 20 parts per billion of lead in their water. According to many health organizations such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this lead content in water is too high. Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker proposed a bill that would make lead in school water to be at 5 parts per billion, which is the FDA’s current standard for bottled water.
Schools in Montgomery County are ready to comply if the bill passes. Andy Zuckerman, the school system’s chief operating officer, stated that he will begin to have people test the water fountains at a variety of schools if the bill does indeed pass. He intends to have any fountain that that is more than 5 parts per billion be put out of service and fixed as soon as possible.
A bill is also being pushed in the House of Delegates that would require the same fountain water standards that Hucker proposed in Montgomery County. State Del. Jared Solomon is the sponsor of this bill and it is soon expected to go to senate. If Solomon’s bill passes it would further reinforce the lead standards of drinking water in MCPS and would take full affect in July of 2020. The bill allows certain schools to apply for grants to implement the drinking water upgrades needed.