Missouri proposal looks to rid lead from school drinking water; Springfield Public Schools react

Published: May. 2, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Missouri State Senate passed a bill to get rid of lead in schools’ drinking water. The Missouri State House will debate the issue.

Senate Bill 984 states Missouri schools have to ramp up testing for drinking water. Springfield Public Schools Executive Director of Operations Travis Shaw said parents in the district have no worries.

“We currently do not have any water lines that are lead-based whatsoever,” said Shaw.

The “Get the Lead Out of School Drinking Water Act” would start next fall. It would require schools to inventory all drinking fountains and water fixtures. It will also require schools to remove drinking water coolers that are not lead-free, install filters to reduce lead in drinking water, and keep students, parents, and kids informed.

Shaw said the district’s water is lead-free.

“All of our faucets and water fountains have all been over the past several years changed out to where none of those fixtures have any lead in them whatsoever,” said Shaw.

The bill states no school built after January 4, 2014, is required to install, maintain, or replace filters, just test for toxins.

Shaw said most of SPS gets its water from City Utilities. And only one school gets water from a well, which they test. Shaw said testing is vital for the safety of their students.

“Take whatever measures necessary to make sure that the water that students and staff were exposed to was obviously safe,” said Shaw.

The bill said schools could seek reimbursement for going with the new guidelines. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is authorized to give schools funding for testing, filtering, and new water systems.

Shaw said if the bill is passed, they will comply.

“It would change things drastically,” said Shaw. “As far as do we need additional staff to perform this? Do we need additional budgets for the cost of the testing?”

The Safe Drinking Water Commission and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be overseeing these changes.

“That is our first priority, whether its lead in water, whether it’s the safety of visitors or building, we want to keep everybody within our schools as safe as possible,” said Shaw.

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