Texas to Test School Drinking Water
Texas is ready to start testing for lead and copper in drinking water at schools and child care facilities across the state.
This seems like something that we should have been on top of already.
According to the Texas Tribune, the testing imitative comes after an update from the Environmental Protection Agency in December in the aftermath of the Flint, Michigan water crisis.
In case you're unfamiliar with what happened in Flint, they changed their water source but failed to properly treat the water to prevent corrosion in the pipes. Lead and other contaminants made their way into the water supply and caused a water crisis that went unresolved for over a year.
Rule changes were handed down in December requiring elementary schools and child care facilities to have their water tested. Texas did not have any previous testing requirements, so this will be the first time that testing is being mandated.
Prior to now, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality would assist a school that requested help, but there were no requirements to test for lead and copper in the water system. The TCEQ will now be in charge of those new testing requirements and letting parents and guardians know if the water their kids are drinking is safe or not.
Gary Rasp, a spokesperson for the TCEQ says, “At this early stage, TCEQ is still evaluating the new requirements of this complex rule and has not fully determined yet how to implement the rule as revised. TCEQ is not aware of any guidance provided by EPA to the states.”
Of course all this testing will require money. TCEQ has requested $8 million from the state legislature.
Just so you're aware, per the EPA, 20% of elementary schools and child care facilities must have their water tested each year. Here in Texas, that rule will be in full by January 2024.