Lead experts call on LCS to put a bigger focus on water quality

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By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 25, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- According to the latest water and lead testing results at the Leon County School District, officials have deemed the district's drinking water “high quality, and is safe for students and faculty.”

However, some advocates say the lead levels still aren’t low enough.

“While water quality has improved, I’m not sure that lead levels in Leon County Schools' drinking water is low enough,” said Dr. Donald Axelrod, a lead expert who works as a professor at the Institute of Public Health at FAMU.

Under the Environmental Protection Agency, the action level for lead in water is 15 parts per billion. However, Axelrod said that the American Association of Pediatrics says that no more than one part per billion is safe for children.

With that information, he’d like to see the district strive for a level closer to zero, as opposed to just complying with EPA action level standards.

“Given that the EPA has not come up with a reference dose, I can’t call it a safe dose. But it’s a dose that has no effects, it’s very hard to calculate what we might call a safe level,” said Axelrod. “We should get as low as we can. And we can certainly get quite low below the AAP recommendation by using point of use filters.”

Superintendent Rocky Hanna said he’s confident that the district’s water is safe.

“We have been very proactive, we have a new quality insurance plan. A very aggressive flushing program. We’re consulting with the same people the City of Tallahassee is consulting with,” said Hanna. “I feel like we’re in a good spot. I think given the advice we’ve gotten from the consultant, we’re in a much better place than we were two years ago.”

Over the last year, LCS has implemented a water quality maintenance program. That includes daily flushing of drinking fountains and kitchen sinks, as well as cleaning and replacing plugged and leaky aerators.

The district has also hired a water quality consultant.

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