Washington Flunks in National Ranking of States’ Initiatives on Removing Lead from Drinking Water at Schools
The presence of lead in the drinking water at schools has turned into a national epidemic with almost all states suffering from the problem. However, states have also made efforts to remove the lead from drinking water and in that regard, some have been successful, while others have been found wanting. In a report that ranks all the American states on the basis of their efforts in this particular initiative, Washington along with as many as 21 other states was given a grade of ‘F.’ In other words, Washington failed to remove lead successfully from the drinking water at schools and consequently, put school children at the risk of lead poisoning.
According to the report, two prominent groups which are involved in advocating this initiative marked Washington’s efforts an ‘F’ and that must come as a bit of an embarrassment for the powers that be in the state. The two groups involved were the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Environment America Research & Policy Center. As many as 32 states were surveyed, and while it is alarming that 22 states, including Washington, flunked it, it is also important to point out that the residents of the state would not be happy at this development.
The parameters for the grading were quite straightforward. The report looked into the fact whether the states had policies that made sure that schools had to purify the water on their own. If the process was started only after tests, then it resulted in a markdown for the state concerned. The report is quite exhaustive in nature and in addition to specific policies, it also scrutinized whether the threshold for lead content in the water that would instigate a purification process. The testing processes and the level of transparency with the people of the state were also weighted.
Earlier on in 2019, Environment Washington had tried to push a law that would have forced the schools in the state to periodically test the water in their premises. If the findings showed that the lead content was above the threshold mandated by the state, then the issue was going to be fixed immediately. However, that bill seems dead in the water for all intents and purposes, since it did not get a committee hearing at all.