Drinking Water Tested & Safe at JPPSS Schools; Media Report Claiming “Failed” Tests is Inaccurate

A recent media report incorrectly stated that a number of JPPSS schools “failed” tests for lead in water. Our district follows federal guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency for water quality. The report did not use these federal guidelines. It used recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

JPPSS contracted with an independent environmental agency to conduct lead water sampling. These tests were conducted following the federal EPA guidelines. Only one school (Harris Elementary) tested positive for increased levels of lead – and that was an issue with one specific water fountain, not the water coming into the school. That fountain was immediately replaced. No other school tested positive for increased levels of lead. School systems are not mandated to conduct water quality testing for lead. Our Operations Department was proactive in conducting these tests after seeing water quality become an issue across our region, state, and nation.

The tests were done in May-June 2018 at 20 schools. Five water fountains were tested at each school. Of the 100 fountains tested, 10 showed levels of lead – with one reaching what the EPA considers an elevated level. The end result of the testing is that the drinking water is safe at these schools.

At eleven of the schools tested, no levels of lead were found (Haynes, Clancy, Washington, Bonnabel, Keller, Bissonet Plaza, Roosevelt, Butler, Estelle, Boudreaux, Marrero Middle). Lead was found in fountains at eight schools, but below the EPA guidelines to be considered an elevated level (St. Ville, East Jefferson, Hearst, Woods, Ford, Ellender, Ehret, West Jefferson). At these eight schools, no heightened levels of lead were found.

Harahan Elementary was not part of the testing that JPPSS initiated, but was mentioned in this media report. Harahan Elementary participated in state testing, along with 11 other elementary schools across the state. This test showed that no heightened levels of lead were found in the drinking water at Harahan Elementary.

JPPSS will continue our proactive, random sampling to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.