PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — At Summit Elementary School in Butler County, unsuspecting parents learned that their kids drank lead-contaminated water for months.
Turns out, in Pennsylvania, they were far from alone.
“When it comes to addressing lead in our schools drinking water, the report card is in, and Pennsylvania gets an F,” said Stephen Riccardi, an environmentalist.
An analysis of drinking water in our schools found that Pennsylvania had the highest number of exceedances for lead in the nation. Yet the group, PennEnvironment, found that few districts test their water or initiate action.
“No growing child should be at risk from the water they drink 180 days out of the year,” said Riccardi.
Pittsburgh Public Schools tested its water at all 70 facilities this past summer and then removed or replaced 14 fountains that tested above the federal limit.
But to go further, City Councilwoman Deb Gross is proposing a program to provide water pitcher filters to every Pittsburgh household with a child under the age of 6.
Gross is looking for funds to buy the pitchers for immediate action as the water authority engages in a long-term program of replacing lead water lines.
“We think that we can provide those countertop pitchers for every household with children under 6-years-old in the city for less than a million dollars, possibly even half a million dollars. That is something we should do,” said Councilwoman Gross.