Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is testing drinking water at schools, centers and office buildings for the presence of lead. The testing is not the result of any concerns with drinking water in Charles County schools.
CCPS is conducting the testing to comply with a new state regulation, which was signed into law in May 2017, and requires all Maryland schools, public and nonpublic, served by public water to test for the presence of lead in all drinking water outlets.
The new regulation requires the school system to test or re-test all water outlets used for consumption during a single school year and while schools are in session. Testing is limited to water outlets where the water is intended for consumption. This includes water sources like drinking fountains, cafeteria sinks, classroom combination sinks, teachers’ lounge sinks and any other outlet used for drinking or food preparation. It does not include water outlets like utility and bathroom sinks. CCPS will post signs in the area of the faucet that has not been sampled to ensure it is not used for drinking.
Schools served by well water are not included in the state’s new regulation because they are already covered by other legislation. However, CCPS has 10 schools/centers where water is supplied by a well. Although it is not required, CCPS plans to test drinking water outlets at these schools, which include Dr. James Craik, Gale-Bailey, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon, Malcolm, T.C. Martin and Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy elementary schools, Piccowaxen Middle School, Henry E. Lackey High School, Robert D. Stethem Educational Center and Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Center. CCPS will also conduct testing at all office buildings.
“CCPS is taking Maryland’s new legislation seriously when it comes to making sure that school drinking water is safe to consume,” said Assistant Superintendent of Supporting Services Michael Heim. “Even though it is not required, we plan to test or retest drinking water outlets in all CCPS buildings and make those results readily available to parents and staff,” Heim said.
CCPS water testing began in March and will be completed by June 30. CCPS staff will send samples to Martel Laboratories JDS Inc., a state-certified laboratory for water analysis. CCPS will post results on the ccboe.com website as the school system receives them. CCPS will post full lab reports and summaries at https://www.ccboe.com/index.php/water-quality-reports.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,108 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.