In 2017, Maryland PIRG supported legislation from Del. Steve Lafferty to establish testing and standards for lead in school drinking water. At the time, and ever since, we have said e should have a more health protective action level. Now, the state legislature is poised to lower the action level to 5ppb.
For the last three years, we have worked with Del. Jared Solomon and Sen. Cory McCray to expand and improve on our existing state policy, A version of this bill passed the House in 2019 and the Senate in 2020. This year let’s get it done.
In 2019, Maryland PIRG and Environment Maryland released a report, Get the Lead Out: on addressing lead in school Drinking Water, which gave Maryland a “C” on efforts to protect kids from lead in school drinking water. Lowering the action level is one of the most important things you can do to strengthen our law. There are further recommendations in our report.
Maryland has made strides in helping schools address lead in drinking water: The general assembly has increased access to grant funding for lead remediation through the Healthy School Facility Fee.
With this bill – the bottom line is clear: If our schools have taps testing at levels over 5, should they be left on or turned off and remediated? We say: shut them off.
State Director, Maryland PIRG
Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Emily has helped win small donor public financing in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County. She has played a key role in establishing new state laws to to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms, require testing for lead in school drinking water and restrict the use of toxic flame retardant and PFAS chemicals. Emily also serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition and the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working. Emily lives in Baltimore City with her husband, kids, and dog.