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MNPS Agrees To Increase Lead-Reduction Efforts

MNPS Agrees To Increase Lead-Reduction Efforts
Posted at 5:05 PM, Dec 14, 2017

Metro Schools has confirmed it will dramatically increase its efforts to reduce the lead in the drinking water of its schools.

It followed questions first raised by NewsChannel 5 Investigates and came under pressure from the Metro health department.

"If it is implemented as we agreed on, we expect it to be good for public health, definitely for the health and teachers at the schools," said Dr. Sanmi Areola, the health department's deputy director.

Areola worked closely with the school system to reduce the levels of lead in the water.

Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause learning and behavioral problems in children.

Metro Schools had set a target of 15 parts per billion for all fountains.

But, under pressure from the health department, it will now work to cut that by a third -- setting a new target of five parts per billion.

"So by using a target that's five parts per billion, it's really saying we want to take steps -- additional steps -- to keep lead exposure as low as possible," Areola said.

A Metro Schools spokesperson said the district will replace older bubblers that seem to be part of the problem. Those are fixtures that turn classroom sinks into water fountains.

In addition, after the winter break, it will begin a process to flush all water lines to get rid of any lead that may have built up.

That will also be done after spring break and other long periods when school buildings are not being used.

Special Section:
NC5 Investigates: Lead in School Water