In July, Metro Nashville Public Schools decided to voluntarily test every drinking water source in school buildings owned by MNPS, to ensure they do not contain elevated levels of lead. Our goal was to test before teachers and students returned to class in August. We have completed testing at all but five schools.
With results in for 138 buildings, 119 buildings had no lead levels above the public drinking water standard. Of the more than 4,000 samples taken during the past three weeks, only 38 showed lead levels above the standard of public water systems (15 parts per billion) - that is just less than one percent of the total tested. All 38 of those sample locations, which are in 19 schools, have been disconnected and taken out of service until repairs can be made and water retested.
Haywood Elementary was retested because there were nine samples that were higher than the EPA recommendation for drinking water and this number was significantly higher than in other schools. Results from the second test showed only three samples with elevated levels. Metro Schools has disconnected all nine locations until we can determine next steps.
Pennington Elementary and McMurray Middle will be tested as soon as possible, but that testing has not occurred due to construction. Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet and Overton High have been partially tested, but some areas have not been accessible because of construction and will be tested as soon as possible. The McCann building, which Nashville Prep charter school, is scheduled for testing next week.
In 2016, Metro Schools began a voluntary testing of water in our oldest buildings to ensure its safety for students and staff. There are no federal, state or local requirements for school districts to test for lead. In fact, MNPS is one of only a few districts in the state to test for lead. The results from that first round of tests were released in June. The plan was to begin a second round of testing in August, but the district decided it was better to test all schools to reassure families and staff.
Metro Schools has worked closely with the Metro Public Health Department, as well as Metro Water Services and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, to be sure our testing protocols followed nationally-accepted standards for water quality testing.