February 28th, 2017
AUSTIN – The Texas League of Conservation Voters (TLCV) applauds legislation filed last week to protect communities across the state affected by high levels of lead in our public school drinking water.
House Bill 2395 author Rep. Nicole Collier of Fort Worth said she filed the legislation in response to high levels of lead discovered in many FWISD schools last year.
When Fort Worth tested its 127 schools in 2016, it discovered high levels of lead in about 500 drinking fountains, as well as a smaller number of water lines. Nearly all have been replaced; as of mid-November, roughly 31 schools were waiting for water fountains or lines to be permanently replaced.
Texas currently has no uniform standards or requirements for how water in public schools is tested for lead.
“With simple changes, the state could craft standards to protect millions of Texas children from potentially life-threatening health risks,” said Elizabeth Doyel, executive director for TLCV. “We have the power to prevent harm, and we applaud Rep. Collier’s leadership on this issue.”
While other school districts like Plano and Houston are currently testing or planning to test for lead, testing is voluntary. Without legislation in place, many school districts could fall through the cracks.
“We must ensure all kids have access to safe, drinkable water,” Doyel added. “We don’t want Lubbock, Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston or Brownsville to be the next Flint, Michigan.”
Earlier this year, Illinois passed a law requiring testing in schools built before 2000 and that have students up to the fifth grade. New York passed a law last year requiring testing in all public schools, and last week released statewide test results indicating high levels of lead exist in 14 percent of all public schools in the state.