Updated February 1, 2017
Across the U.S., many cities, and more specifically, school districts have begun water quality testing following concerns of elevated lead concentrations in consumable drinking sources. The Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) tested water at all of its instructional campuses. The district began sampling for lead and copper on October 1, 2016.
Dallas ISD’s sampling was conducted in two phases. Preliminary results from phase one, revealed seven campuses had elevated levels of either lead, or copper, or both. In the second phase of sampling, an additional five campuses were found with elevated levels. The identified campuses with elevated levels were:
Each of the findings have been remediated by replacing filters, retrofitting units with a new filter, or replacing the units altogether. Following those measures, levels have returned to the acceptable range at nine of the 12 campuses. Results are still pending for the remaining three (Preston Hollow Elementary, STEAM at D.A. Hulcy, and Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary).
For full details of preliminary results at each campus, we have published reports that can be accessed on this page under Water Testing Results.
The United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world, as noted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Drinking water often picks up low levels of some contaminants as it flows, however, these contaminants usually are not detected at harmful levels. In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which is used to help determine drinking water levels. The district’s drinking water is monitored by public water suppliers to ensure public health standards are met. There are no federal guidelines required for testing drinking water in schools. The district performed voluntary testing to ensure a safe and healthy environment at our schools. Dallas ISD remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff.
Who will conduct the testing in schools?
EFI Global, Inc. and Terracon Consulting Engineers and Scientists, both third party consulting firms, will perform all of the water sampling. That process is estimated to conclude by early to mid-November.
Will my student’s learning environment be impacted?
No, the sampling effort is scheduled for a time interval that is least likely to have a negative or adverse impact on the intended learning environment (i.e. prior to start of class and the weekend).
What does it mean if there are contaminants in drinking water?
The EPA has set drinking water thresholds for lead and other elements that may potentially be found in drinking water. While there are contaminants that will be present in water, the EPA has guidelines to determine if those contaminants meet actionable levels. Find our more on water regulations, as set by the EPA here.
What constituents did the District sample for?
The District sampled for lead and copper
What are the acceptable thresholds for the constituents that the District sampled for?
The EPA established maximum contaminant level (MCL) for lead is 0.015 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Any concentration greater than the MCL requires action to be taken, alternatively, concentrations less than the MCL are considered acceptable and therefore do not require that action be taken.
The EPA established MCL for copper is 1.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L).
What will Dallas ISD be sampling?
As recommended by the EPA, Dallas ISD will draw samples from at least two consumable source locations at each campus. One source will include a water fountain, and the other a kitchen food preparation sink.
How can I find out more information about water sampling in schools?
We encourage our parents, teachers, staff and community members to review the EPA website that provides a more detailed protocol for schools and child centers of where and what to sample. Please visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/testing-schools-and-child-care-centers-lead-drinking-water.
More helpful information can be found here in both English and Spanish:
“3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools” This document can be downloaded as a PDF.