We want to bring you up to date on the water quality testing in your schools. In late October, we met with principals to give them the opportunity to ask questions and to provide answers about our next steps.

More than a year ago, Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) embarked on an ambitious, first-ever, voluntary water testing program in the wake of the lead crisis in Flint, MI and other areas of the country. We wanted to make sure water in our schools is safe for students and staff.

We partnered with Metro Water Services (MWS), Metro Public Health (MPH), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the Federal Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Region IV to do what we believe no other school system in the state had done before – test for lead in our drinking water. There are no regulations that require us to test for lead, but we believe it is important to our students and staff for us to know our water meets public drinking water standards.

After three phases of testing, with an average of 30 locations per school and more than 4,204 samples, we found 99.12 percent of samples had no exceedances. What’s an exceedance? Anything over 15 parts per billion (ppb) lead. (Federal EPA guidance says anything under 20 ppb lead content in schools requires no action.)

Of the 37 locations with exceedances, 29 were classroom water fountains and eight were hallway water fountains. All have been disabled and are slated for replacement with new drinking bubblers or water fountains--information and pictures of the disabled outlets are on our website at MNPS.org.

Here are additional next steps:

  • We will run water from the pipes in all drinking or food preparation locations for a minimum of five minutes at the end of summer and winter breaks. This will eliminate any lead that may collect when water sits unused in a pipe.
  • We will begin a random water quality sampling program.

We know you have more questions, and we’d like to answer them. Please visit with your principal about your school’s specific water quality and if you have additional questions, contact the MNPS communications department at communications@mnps.org.

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