Water Safety Testing Results
LAST UPDATED March 8, 2019
In response to requirements stipulated in HB 270, passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan on May 4, 2017, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) has been testing water outlets at schools for the presence of lead. The law requires that schools “must test for the presence of lead in all drinking water outlets” in schools that are served by public water.
AACPS, along with several other school systems, was invited to participate in meetings to assist the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) in the development of the regulation. The Final regulation became effective April 9, 2018. AACPS began sampling in mid-March 2018, prior to the April 9, 2018, effective date.
The law and regulation define drinking water outlets as “an ice-making machine, a hot drink machine, a kitchen sink, a classroom combination sink with drinking fountain, a sink in a home economics classroom, a teachers’ lounge sink, a nurse’s office sink, a sink in a special education classroom, and any other sink known to be used for human consumption.” The law and regulation also mandate that sampling must be done while school is in session. Thus, no sampling could be done over the summer months.
AACPS resumed sampling in September 2018 and by July 1, 2019, will have tested all schools, even those served by well water (not required by this law). The law and regulation require parents be notified of results, even if those results show levels below the threshold of 20 parts per billion.
In addition to outlets designated as drinking water outlets, AACPS tested “Bathroom and classroom sinks not clearly signed as not a drinking water outlet…” as stipulated in the regulation, along with slop sinks in custodial closets and hose bibbs.
The first results received from Martel, the independent and accredited lab with which AACPS has contracted to do this work, were delivered to schools and parents in late April 2018. AACPS has since contracted with a second independent and accredited lab. As results arive, students and parents are provided with a several-page summary and information directing them to the full report online. AACPS also created this website, all summaries and full reports are posted for public viewing. Full reports are also available in all schools.
The sampling process is defined by the regulation and the preparations that were required for sampling by Martel include:
• Utilizing a printed map, visiting each school and confirming the location of each water source. The primary purpose for doing this is to assign a unique identification to each source to ensure future information is accurately identified for each water source.
• Prior to any sample that is taken, it is a requirement that the water has to sit in the pipes between 8 and 18 hours.
• All samples must be taken before students and staff arrive at school in the morning because if outlets are turned on and water flows, the integrity of sample is compromised.
As of March 7, 2019, AACPS has results from 14,251 outlets. Of those, 13,506 (94.77 percent) do not have elevated levels of lead, and 745 (5.23 percent) have elevated levels of lead. Of those 745, however, 112 – or 0.79 percent of the outlets for which we have results to date – are drinking water outlets, with the remainder being fixtures such as outside hose bibs or ones in custodial closets.
Those 112 outlets were all shut off within 24 hours of AACPS receiving results of elevated levels. AACPS has replaced all of those fixtures. Those outlets will remain inoperable until the completion of sampling at all schools. At that time, AACPS will retest any drinking water outlet with a prior elevated level. Only when satisfactory results are attained will an outlet be turned back on.
There are sufficient working drinking water outlets at all schools so that bottled water is not needed. Students at any AACPS school, whether it has been tested or not, will be allowed to carry water bottles to class should they choose to do so.