BOSTON (WWLP) – A new report shows where Massachusetts schools stand when it comes to school drinking water.
Massachusetts may be a leader in education but it’s not a leader when it comes to safe drinking water in schools and childcare centers. Although the state did improve over the past four years, the Commonwealth still received a C minus when it comes to laws preventing lead being found in school drinking water. This is a very small improvement from 2019, when the state received a D grade.
Shockingly, a C minus did put Massachusetts ahead of a lot of other states, 27 received F grades for their lead prevention measures and eight received a D. Now, the state does provide free testing and assistance to help schools, but they are not required to take action if elevated levels of lead is detected.
Back in 2018, 180 schools in western Massachusetts were tested and 78 had at least one water sample with high levels of lead or copper. MassPIRG said that the water isn’t the issue, it’s the infrastructure that brings the water to people.
“We have good data in Massachusetts from the Department of Environmental Protection that found that 80% of the 65,000 taps tested from 1,700 schools and child care centers across the state have tested positive for lead. So we know, we have the data to show that we have a problem,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director as MassPIRG.
There is legislation on Beacon Hill to remediate this problem. The bill would require schools and childcare centers to have lead-removal filters, remove lead plumbing when doable and mandate that drinking water or faucets where elevated levels of lead is found be shut off.
If that legislation is passed, those behind the rankings say that the Commonwealth’s grade would immediately go from a C minus to an A.