AUSTIN (KXAN) — Parents who have expressed concern about what is coming out of their child’s water fountain at school needn’t be worried because the Austin Independent School District says recent tests have indicated the water is safe for drinking. In March, KXAN Education Reporter Erin Cargile reported the district did not test drinking water in its schools for lead, but that changed following our report.
City water departments conduct water quality tests before it goes to schools but once it reaches the customer, in this case schools, it’s the district’s responsibility. But districts are not required to test, even though dozens of AISD schools are more than 50 years old. Older buildings are more likely to have lead pipes and fixtures. Within weeks of our March story the district took action by testing the drinking water at 60 different campuses.
AISD received good news from the test results. Only one test from a water fountain at Zavala Elementary School tested above the acceptable range for lead. As a precaution, the district removed that fountain and did more testing around the school, all of which came back showing lead levels in the acceptable range. AISD officials believe the water at Zavala is safe.
KXAN’s Robert Hadlock spoke with AISD’s executive director of facilities, Paul Turner, about the quick response from the district.
“We wanted to go out and test some of our older buildings and it really was out of an abundance of caution,” Turner said after being asked if our story prompted their action.
“Do you think it’s necessary to test the other campuses?” Hadlock asked Turner. The district has 130 schools.
“I don’t that it would necessarily be a bad idea to maybe have a schedule where we go through periodically and do that,” responded Turner. “We don’t want our parents to feel uncomfortable. The parents are our constituents and we’re going to serve them in the way they need to be served.”
Schools AISD tested for lead in drinking water:
|School Tested||Date Tested||Year Built||Age|
|Barton Hills ES||4/10/2016||1964||52|
|Bryker Woods ES||4/12/2016||1939||77|
|Highland Park ES||4/24/2016||1952||64|
|Oak Hill ES||4/16/2016||1974||42|
|Oak Springs ES||4/17/2016||1958||58|
|Pecan Springs ES||4/13/2016||1957||59|
|St. Elmo ES||4/16/2016||1960||56|
|Sunset Valley ES||4/16/2016||1971||45|
|Travis Heights ES||4/10/2016||1938||78|
|Walnut Creek ES||4/14/2016||1961||55|