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High levels of lead found in drinking water at several Baltimore County elementary schools

Posted at 6:59 PM, Mar 14, 2019

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Tests of several sources of water inside Baltimore County Public Schools have revealed high levels of lead.

The school system says they've tested school drinking fountains for lead since 2016. However, on April 9, 2018 House Bill 270 went into effect, requiring each school to test all potential drinking water sources during the 2018-2019 school year.

So far this school year, 65 schools have been tested, including 61 elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and two special schools. Of those, 42 tested positive in at least one of their water fixtures, 40 of which are elementary schools.

As part of the new testing regulations, samples can only be taken when the water has been sitting in the schools pipes for between eight and eighteen hours. All water samples are then required to meet the states mandated action level of 20 parts per billion.

SEE ALSO: High levels of lead found in some Anne Arundel County Public Schools drinking water

To comply with those standards, the school system decided to conduct testing on Saturday's which began on September 22, 2018. Samples are then sent to a lab certified by the Maryland Department of Environment to be analyzed.

All sources of water that come back with levels above 20 parts per billion are required to be turned off, replaced and undergo follow-up testing, that shows action levels have been met, before being turned back on.

Officials say schools built before 1990 have had bottled water available since 2016. Schools built after that, which test high will be provided bottled water, until proper water levels are met.

The school system says they will notify the student's parents and guardians of the results. Testing is scheduled to be completed by the end of the school year, with future tests every three years.

To view the full list of schools impacted, click here.