Protecting the drinking water at Massachusetts schools

Recent samples from several western Massachusetts schools had elevated levels of copper and lead

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BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg launched a $2-million program last April to help more than 850 public schools test for lead and copper in drinking water.

Over the past year, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assisted schools in sampling more than 53,000 water fixtures, including drinking fountains. The Massachusetts Clean Water Trust provides financing for septic systems, drinking water, and pollution reduction projects.

Related: High levels of lead found in water at dozens of western Massachusetts schools

Exposure to lead and copper can cause health problems. Samples from several western Massachusetts schools, including Holyoke High School and Springfield Sci-Tech, had copper and lead above action levels this month.

The state updates its lists every week as schools implement safety measures, including flushing water systems or providing bottled water for students. “You might have a bubbler or a fountain that’s brand new, but you want to make sure that the piping coming into it is not contaminated in any way,” said State Treasurer Goldberg.

You can check if your child’s school has high levels of lead or copper on the MassDEP’s website.