Safe Water At School
In 2022, the Missouri legislature passed the Get the Lead out of School Drinking Water Act (RSMo 160.077), which sets standards for lead concentrations in school drinking water. The law requires schools to conduct inventory, sampling, remediation and monitoring at all potable drinking water outlets used or potentially being used for drinking, food preparation and cooking or cleaning utensils.
In October 2023, the District issued a request for proposals (RFP) for lead water testing. Five contractors responded to the District’s RFP, and after careful review, St. John Environmental Consultants was selected to provide labor, materials and applicable reports for this scope of work.
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for acceptable lead levels in drinking water is less than 15 parts per billion (ppb).
Missouri’s Get the Lead Out of School Drinking Water Act requires that school building water sources contain a lead content of less than 5 ppb, or five micrograms per liter.
If all tested water sources in a building test less than 5 ppb, that building will not be required to test again for a five (5) year period.
If a water source is identified to be producing lead levels greater than 5 ppb, annual testing will be required for that building until remediation efforts are proven successful.
According to the CDC: Lead is a toxic metal that is persistent in the environment and can accumulate in the body over time. Risk will vary depending on the individual, the chemical conditions of the water, and the amount consumed. For example, infants who drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated tap water may be at a higher risk of exposure because of the large volume of water they consume relative to their body size. Bathing and showering should be safe for you and your children because human skin does not absorb lead in water.
Exposure to high levels of lead can cause damage to the brain, blood, and kidneys. Children under six are most at risk from lead poisoning. Even low levels of lead exposure have been found to permanently reduce cognitive ability and cause hyperactivity in children.
- Lead can be an environmental hazard.
- Lead does NOT naturally occur in the body.
- Lead is toxic to the human body and impacts all body systems.
- Lead enters the body through breathing or swallowing.
- In most cases, lead poisoning does not produce noticeable symptoms.
- The health effects of lead poisoning are irreversible.
- Lead poisoning is preventable.