Health Dept: Lead levels safe in RI schools’ drinking water

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The drinking water at schools across Rhode Island has been deemed safe, according to Joseph Wendelken, a spokesperson for the state Department of Health.

The General Assembly passed a law last year requiring health officials to test the drinking water at all schools for lead contamination.

Of the 1,134 samples collected, 62 tested above the “action level” designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

After the schools made the appropriate changes and new tests were administered, Wendelken said all of the results were back in line with EPA standards.

“Generally speaking, we found that the drinking water quality in Rhode Island schools is very good,” he said.

“It was really a small number of schools that in which we saw issues with lead in water,” Wendelken added. “And every time schools took the recommended action steps that we communicated with them, those lead levels fell below what we consider the line of concern.”

Some school districts where higher lead levels were found said the testing was done during the summer, when water was sitting stagnant in pipes.

The results form each school district can be viewed on the health department’s website.