ADEQ study confirms public school drinking water below established testing levels

PHOENIX, Ariz. - A study by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) revealed that the Arizona's public drinking water systems were below established testings levels for lead contamination. 

The study began January due to nationwide concern stemming from the situation in Flint, Mich., where it was found that 96 percent of all public school district water fixtures screened for lead were within conservative screening levels. 

State agencies and partners are working to target the fixtures with elevated levels as many were from non-drinking water sources. 

“ADEQ is proud to stand with the many people, including our partners at the public school districts, who helped complete this proactive screening program in record time,” said Trevor Baggiore, Director, ADEQ Water Quality Division. “Protecting public health, especially the health of our children, is a primary part of our mission,” added Baggiore.

Arizona is the only state that has successfully completed a proactive, comprehensive and voluntary screening program for lead in public school district drinking water and completed it within six months’ time. Report screening results represent:

  • 16,125 total samples
  • 14,782 fixtures
  • 11,585 buildings
  • 1,427 schools
  • 180 public school districts 

The School Facilities Board is actively working with public school districts to replace the small number of fixtures with confirmed elevated lead levels. ADEQ is coordinating with these schools to sample and verify that fixture replacements solve the elevated lead levels in drinking water. 

“As the SFB continues the program through completion of corrective action, we’d like to thank ADEQ for identifying those school buildings with elevated lead levels.  It is through great partnerships such as this, that State resources, coupled with community support, can be leveraged to ensure safe learning environments where Arizona children thrive,” said Paul Bakalis, Executive Director of the Arizona School Facilities Board.

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