In response to requirements stipulated in HB 270, passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan. Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) has been testing water outlets at schools for the presence of lead. The law requires that schools “must test for the presence of lead in all drinking water outlets” in schools that are served by public water.
The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) defines a “drinking water outlet” as “a potable water fixture that is used for drinking or food preparation.” According to COMAR, such outlets include an ice-making machine, a hot drink machine, a kitchen sink, a classroom combination sink with drinking fountain, a sink in a home economics classroom, a teachers’ lounge sink, a nurse’s office sink, a sink in a special education classroom, and any other sink known to be used for human consumption. Also, according to COMAR, a “drinking water outlet” does not include “an outlet clearly signed as not a drinking water outlet.”
HCPS has also tested outlets such as all bathroom sinks and places from which water is not intended to be consumed.
Sampling is being done by HCPS personnel and/or an accredited independent laboratory. HCPS sampled 11 schools before the end of the 2017-2018 school year. As results are received, if levels exceed the action level, the information is provided to parents/guardians and staff. Results can also be found on this page. Full results are also available at all schools where testing has been completed and lab reports have been received.
As allowable under the law, HCPS has standing approval until July 1, 2019, to sample the remaining schools in our county. The law requires that school be in session when testing is done, with the intent that all testing will be completed by July 2019. We will, as the law requires, sample each school once every three (3) years after that point unless a waiver is granted for a school.
More information about the law can be found on the Maryland Department of the Environment website.
With regard to remediations, we are replacing, disconnecting or clearly marking the outlet as not a drinking outlet at any interior fixture where samples show a level higher than the allowable 20 parts per billion. Any consumable water outlet where elevated lead levels have been found has been turned off until repairs can be completed, and new testing is done. Sufficient drinking water outlets without elevated lead levels exist for students and staff in all schools.
In accordance with the law, retesting will be done at any site where a fixture has been replaced.
The documents provided to parents/guardians and staff also discuss the various ways in which humans can be exposed to lead and the potential risks associated with that exposure.
To see lead sampling testing results at a glance, click here. Additional information is available in the Overview section on this webpage: http://www.hcps.org/schools/watertestresults.aspx.