Administration Responds to Water Quality

After high levels of lead that surpassed EPA ac tion levels were found in RHS water fountain samples collected on Jan. 26, administration responded with an official water flushing program starting March 4 to decrease the amount of suspended metals in school drinking water.

“I put a work order in for maintenance and they requested that we go start doing water flushing in the morning,” Building Services Manager Victor Bhandari said. “We do all the water fountains in the morning, and it’s official from the county, so we log in every morning and put the time and date.”

The fountain-flushing directly addresses the issue of suspended metals found in the water. Some foun tains are not run as frequently, which leads to rust build-up.

“I’ve been through this before in another school, and the numbers were much more dramatic, and we found that making a conscious effort to run the water fountains has made a significant difference,” Principal Billie-Jean Bensen said.

Administration has also responded with conducting an official test for the fountain water. Brandon Pebbles, an MCPS contractor from Lei dos, is currently managing the tests.

The issue with the water fountains’ condi tion, is not only the results of lead being found, but the fact that MCPS does not test the foun tains after the units are installed. In order to prevent poor water quality in the future, schools should be subject to frequent water tests accord ing to EPA recommendations.

“If other schools were to conduct similar investigations or we were to join together in a lobbying effort, then I’d certainly believe that a county-wide water flushing initiative could be agreed upon and implemented,” SGA President junior Adam Sarsony said.

The EPA suggests flushing water fountains for 15 minutes. This solution to the water quality is both free and requires small effort by mainte nance departments.

RHS PTSA President Nickey Hoppman said, “[It] would be a great next step to talk to our ele mentary school clusters and sit down with them for a conversation on the water quality especially because of the younger kids.”