Questioning lead testing in metro schools - CBS46 News


Questioning lead testing in metro schools

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The Bulldog investigative team has learned a handful of major metro school districts may have unintentionally misidentified the real levels of lead in their drinking water. 

Documents we obtained from the EPA show in 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency warned the often used practice of pre-stagnation flushing, which flushes potentially lead-tainted water out of lines hours before testing, was flushing away the results.  

"Pre-stagnation flushing makes dangerous taps look safe."

Virginia Tech Engineering Professor Marc Edwards helped expose the Flint Water Crisis. He helped us analyze what we found.

On average, "When they went back and tested the taps without pre-stagnation flushing, 700 percent, seven times more taps were found to be lead hazards."

We reached out to six of the metro's biggest school systems.

Two, Cobb and Gwinnett, wouldn't tell us their testing methods. Cobb wanted $200 for that. Should a parent really have to pay that?

Three, DeKalb, Fulton and Clayton County schools, all flushed. The first two in 2016. There is no promise to retest. And Clayton County schools is flushing now, two years after the recommendation not to.

Atlanta Public Schools did not flush when tested in 2016, and their results were poor. But keep in mind, that could be because it was an honest assessment of the drinking water. They say they have fixed the problems they found and will test every five years.

We also learned schools in Georgia are not required to test for lead, years after the lead in Flint may have caused irreversible damage to children there.

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