The School District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is proposing legislation to provide access to safe drinking water. This comes after a report by PennEnvironment and PennPIRG released last month found that 60% of all water fountains or outlets across 65 Philadelphia public schools tested positive for lead. While some school district officials claim the report is misleading due to using a testing standard of 1 pbb, it is well regarded by health professionals that there is no safe level of lead.
While the school district has already installed more than 1,300 hydration stations since the 2016-2017 school year, the legislation would set a deadline for completion to meet the goal of 1 station per every 100 students. Currently, the district needs to install approximately 800 more systems.
The requirements under the proposed legislation include that they are made from lead-free materials, have a filter that meets NSF/ANSI standards for removal of lead and other contaminants, and have a filter change indicator. District officials say the hydration stations already installed meet these criteria.
The district invested an initial $1 million into the project in 2017 and received roughly $95,000 last year in a grant from the city’s health department. The district estimates installing the remaining 800 stations will cost an additional $1 million.