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Lead problem in D.C. schools worse than expected

Lead problem in D.C. schools worse than expected (ABC7)

The lead problem in D.C. schools is worse than expected — but it is being addressed, according to D.C.'s Deputy Mayor for Public Safety.

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration is continuing to take action to not just make the water safer, but make sure parents are told what's happening in their kid's schools.

During the summer, when it's hot, Tony Tomelden's kids love water but when they're in school at Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan, they're told to stay away.

"We send them with filtered water in bottles to school, now,” said Tomelden. "If it's one little bit I can control, then I give them water from the house."

In April, parents learned, from a blogger, that three D.C. schools tested positive for elevated lead levels. A public outcry pressured the city to test every water source in every school, library and rec center and the ABC7 News I-Team has the results. Of the 6,658 water sources tested, more than a third, (2,258) contained lead. Four hundred had levels higher than 15 parts per billion - the federal action level. Ninety-one sources had levels above 100. Three topped 1,000.

"No. [The numbers] were not acceptable, at all," stated DC's Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, Kevin Donahue. "I was surprised the results were that high."

Donahue told 7 On Your Side, the city is spending $4.3 million to install filters on all water sources that tested above 1 ppb. They should be done by the end of December.

"We're taking steps that no one else in the country is taking," added Donahue.

Donahue also said the city has enacted new policies to ensure parents are better informed. Records, obtained by the I-Team, show from 2014 to early 2016, routine water tests found 76 water sources at 32 D.C. schools had elevated levels of lead. Filters were installed, but parents were never told.

"We get it right now and we understand parents want to know," concluded Donahue. "This should not happen again."

If you would like to look at the latest test results, we have them posted below. You can see what schools and even which classrooms tested the highest.




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