Last summer, Metro Schools began a voluntary testing of water in our oldest buildings to ensure its safety for our students and staff. There are no federal, state or local requirements to test, but we believe it is the right thing to do. We worked with Metro Water Services, Metro Public Health Department and our outside expert in this work to develop and implement a process that meets all requirements for water quality sampling of public water systems. Water in all MNPS schools tested is safe and meets all standards for public water systems.
During Phase 1 of this work, we sampled every potential drinking water source in our oldest buildings, including places unlikely to be used for drinking water such as sinks in bathrooms, locker rooms and classrooms. The testing and the follow-up response has been reviewed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The final report for this first phase is being compiled and should be ready within the next few weeks.
At no time in this first phase of sampling were there any concerns raised for the safety of our drinking water. Because of this, we were focused on completing the program and did not immediately share information with families. We never, at any time, sought to hide or keep information from you, our families and staff. In hindsight, we recognize not sharing earlier has allowed others to question our motives and decision-making. Ensuring the safety of our students and staff is our only motive and that is why we are one of the only, if not the only, school districts in the state to voluntarily begin this type of water testing program.
All drinking fountains in Metro Public School buildings will be tested prior to the start of school to assure families and staff that drinking water in all schools is safe. We will begin with our elementary schools and early learning centers and proceed to middle and high schools. Should any sample locations show lead elevations higher than acceptable standards, we will take corrective steps and resample until all are within acceptable levels.
We are listening to your feedback and are committed to improving how and when we share information, especially on these important topics. Water in all the buildings tested to date is safe and meets all guidelines for water quality. These results have been reviewed and verified by experts who do this work every day. We understand and share your concern and as we continue our water testing, we will keep you informed of the results along the way.