Boston City Council wants to shut down all BPS water fountains after lead concerns

Boston’s City Council wants to shut down all water fountains in all public schools in Boston after elevated levels of lead were found in the drinking water. 

In a letter sent Thursday to Boston Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang, the Council said it is "extremely concerned" lead was found in the drinking water at six public schools in the city. 

"We are outraged at the BPS announcement that some students may have consumed water that was contaminated with lead," the letter said. "Access to free drinking water in public schools is state-mandated and it is unacceptable that our young people may have been exposed to unsafe conditions."

The Council is asking that all fountains in the 125 public schools in Boston be shut down immediately until all have been tested and deemed safe for students.

12 of the 13 Boston City Council members signed a petition and sent it to the Boston Schools Superintendent, urging him to provide bottled water at all schools so that no student would need to drink from water fountains.

"Furthermore, the results of these test must be made public," the letter said. "Access to clean and safe drinking water for our students is paramount. Bottled water must be made available to these schools while we are working to rectify these concerns."

Friday afternoon, Boston Public Schools responded to the City Council’s letter. 

"Boston Public Schools (BPS) has noted the petition issued by the Boston City Council and the concerns expressed about water safety in our facilities. In the interest of continuing a transparent and deliberate process to ensure the safety of our students and staff, BPS remains committed to discussing the issues raised by the council. BPS continues to examine its policies relating to water and is implementing more frequent testing protocols to ensure the district’s water quality is exceeding the state standard."  

"This process has really been a process of losing trust from the parents," City Councillor Tito Jackson said. "Either they’re all safe or none of them are safe."

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