Houston ISD works to get the lead out of school drinking water

Clean water

Boy drinking from water fountain
Phase 4 Photography | Shutterstock.com
Boy drinking from water fountain
Yesterday we joined with Houston Independent School District (HISD) to announce the district’s plans to get the lead out of school drinking water. We first started raising alarm bells about lead in the water of Houston schools back in 2017. In January, we joined with the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG Education Fund) and the Coalition of Community Organizations (COCO) to renew our efforts to get the lead out.
We examined over 250 water quality testing reports for HISD elementary, middle and high schools. The results were alarming: lead was found in at least one water tap at 84% of schools tested.
Staff | TPIN
Environment Texas' Mike Lewis with Loren Hopkins from the Houston Health Department, Alisha Jollivette of HISD, and COCO's Rev. James Caldwell.
To ensure safe drinking water at school, we called on HISD to proactively replace all fountains with water bottle/hydration stations equipped with filters that remove lead. With support from Voices for Healthy Kids, we were able to provide funding to COCO to distribute flyers about our “Get The Lead Out” campaign door to door in Houston’s Fifth Ward, generate hundreds of phone calls to the offices of the Superintendent and board members, and raise awareness on social media and to community leaders. We worked with almost two dozen Houston leaders, including Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, to write to HISD and shined the spotlight on the problem to the Houston media.
Our work paid off – HISD agreed to install water bottle filling stations with lead filters in every school and do additional testing and remediation at every school! There’s more to do to ensure clean water for every child, but this is a huge step forward and we applaud HISD for their work.
Thanks to the Houston Chronicle, Houston Public Media, Channel 13 and KPRC for covering the announcement.
Michael Lewis

Former Clean Air and Water Advocate, Environment Texas Research & Policy Center


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