Action Plan for Affected Facilities
- Remove drinking water taps from service
- Provide bottled drinking water to the facility
- Initiate a program of flushing the domestic water lines and continued sampling per EPA recommendations
- Install water filters certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) to remove lead in drinking water
- Develop and implement a remedial plan to eliminate the source of elevated lead levels
- Perform re-sampling to determine if corrective action is effective in reducing lead levels
Water testing in Pinellas County Schools
Pinellas County Schools (PCS) voluntarily implemented a districtwide water testing program in 2016 in order to ensure that each school has a supply of safe drinking water.
Pinellas is currently one of only a handful of large school districts in the nation who tests for lead in the water in each school and shares the results of those tests with the public.
The district follows the EPA’s recommended water testing protocol known as the 3 T’s for Reducing Lead in School Drinking Water. The three “T’s” stand for Training the staff, Testing regularly, and Telling parents the result of those tests.
What Causes Lead to Enter the Water?
Lead is introduced into drinking water primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and facility plumbing. Pinellas County Schools gets its water from seven water suppliers each representing a municipality or the county. Each supplier tests its water up to the meters, the PCS testing program tests the water after the meters. If a PCS test is returned with elevated levels of lead the water supplier is immediately contacted and their testing results are reviewed by the supplier and by PCS staff.
Procedures Governing PCSB Water Testing Program:
Water is collected from areas all around each facility. Samples are first collected from drinking fountains, kitchen sink faucets and other taps that are used to fill drinking water containers.
Samples are labeled, preserved with nitric acid and stored until they can be delivered to an independent testing facility or the Pinellas County Utilities lab for analysis.
Results are sent back to the Pinellas County Schools general manager of environmental controls who will interpret and share the results with appropriate personnel, including the school principal.
Facilities with elevated levels will be re-sampled. The results of this re-sampling determine which action plan steps the district will implement and also dictate the frequency of future water sample collection and analysis for monitoring of lead levels.
Facilities with results that approach the action level outlined by the EPA will be re-sampled four times a year. The re-sampling will continue until all samples returned show results below the action level for a continuous year. The collection of samples for facilities will occur in January, April, July, and October.
When will schools be tested?
All district schools and facilities will be tested once per year to monitor the levels of lead in the water. Any school or facility with test results that indicate lead levels approaching the EPA’s action level will be tested four times a year.
How will the results be communicated?
If the results indicate actionable levels of lead in the water, the school principal will immediately send a communication to the school community, including employees and families of students.
What if the results are found to be at or above the action level for lead?
If the results are found to be at or above the action level, an immediate correction plan will be initiated. The action plan will be based on the unique needs of the school or facility and could include one or all of the following EPA Recommendation actions:
- Institute a flushing protocol with follow-up testing
- Supply the school with bottled water
- Install NSF-approved lead contaminant filters
- Coat pipes and replace plumbing features