Coalition Letter in Support of Hydration Stations

70+ Organizations Support Getting the Lead Out of Philly Schools' Drinking Water


Dear Dr. Hite,

On behalf of the organizations signed below, we are writing to ask you to allocate less than ½ of 1%– approximately $2-4 million–of the District’s $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds to comprehensively address the threat posed by lead in Philadelphia school drinking water, once and for all. This is a critical step that will protect generations of kids from the negative effects of lead exposure. 

Since the 2014 Flint, Michigan lead-in-drinking-water crisis, there’s been ongoing public concern about — and attention to — addressing the threat of lead in drinking water.  It’s well-proven that lead exposure causes numerous negative health effects, including damage to the nervous system, learning disabilities, and impaired hearing. Lead exposure is unsafe at any level. 

Because children spend so much time in school buildings during their prime years of development, lead contamination in school drinking water is particularly dangerous. Recent data shows that 60 percent of all water samples taken from Philadelphia school water outlets had elevated levels of lead. 

There is now an opportunity to change course. The recent federal stimulus package signed into law by President Biden offers the chance to help address this threat: this funding package directs $1.1 billion to the School District of Philadelphia, which can allow the District to address long standing issues that were previously difficult to tackle due to fiscal constraints. With just a small portion of the District’s $1.1 billion allocation, the District has the resources to address this threat districtwide.

Given this, the undersigned groups respectfully call on the School District of Philadelphia to announce a district-wide initiative to ensure safe drinking water for all children in the district to:

  1. Allocate $2-4 million of the District’s federal stimulus (ESSER III) funds to replace all remaining drinking water fountains with hydration stations with lead filters by 2024. 

  2. Reaffirm the District’s commitment to at least one working outlet per 100 students for both school capacity and actual enrollment for each school building. 

  3. Ensure point of use filters certified to remove lead are also installed on any sinks used to prepare food or beverages.

  4. Given the scale and scope of this project, we would ask that the District prioritize replacing old fountains with hydration stations in schools with the highest levels of lead contamination.

  5. Ensuring that water bottle filling stations installed in a public school buildings:

    1. Are regularly cleaned to maintain sanitary conditions;

    2. Are maintained on a regular basis to ensure they function properly;

  6. Regularly train staff on how to maintain filtration systems and educate teachers, students, and staff to recognize when a hydration station indicates that the filter needs to be changed.

  7. Reaffirm the District’s policy to allow and promote having students, teachers, and staff bring and carry approved water bottles into school buildings to utilize hydration stations and promote drinking healthy water.

We look forward to hearing back from you on this important topic, and call on you to take these steps immediately to protect students’ health from the threat of lead in drinking water. 


David Masur

PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Emma Horst-Martz

PennPIRG Education Fund

Pastor Willie Francois

Black Church Center for Justice and Equality

Jacob Zychick

American Heart Association

Odessa Tate 

All In The Family

Eugene Desyatnik

Bella Vista Neighbors Association

Staci Harris

Brewerytown Sharswood Community Civic Association

Yvonne Stephens

Bridesburg Community Action Alliance 

Mark Harris

Cathedral Park CDC

Chris Spahr

Centennial Parkside CDC

Clark Dingman

Center City Organized for Responsible Development


Celeste Hardester

Central Roxborough Civic Association

Rev. Chester Williams

Chew & Belfield Neighborhood Club

Douglas Rucker

Chew and Chelten CDC

Colleen McCauley

Children First

Ahaviah Glaser

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Larissa Mogano

Cobbs Creek Neighbors

Andre Sawyer

Community 360

Molly Parzen

Conservation Voters of PA

Tracy Carluccio

Delaware Riverkeeper Network

Andre Sawyer

Democratic 4th ward

Morgan Berman

Dickinson Square Civic Association

Victoria Miles-Chambliss

Empowered CDC Inc.

Claire Murphy

Families for Houston

Nichole Girgenti

Friends of Southwark

Debra Stewart

Friends of Nebinger 

Elaine Wells

Global Thinking Initiatives Inc

Maria Gonzalez


Shannon Farrell

Harrowgate Civic Association 

Elizabeth Ayala

Hispanic Community Counseling Services Administration

Rachel Mark

The Health, Education and Legal Assistance Project: A Medical-Legal Partnership at Widener University

Emily Pugliese

Henry H. Houston HSA

Ruth I Birchett

Heritage Community Development Corporation

Mary Grace Joyce

Mabel Morris Family Home Visit Program


Mary Grace Joyce

National Nurse-Led Care Consortium

Bill McKinney

New Kensington CDC

Lynn Schwartz

Our City, Our Schools

Mary Allen

Overbrook Farms Club

Gregory Allen

Overbrook West Neighbors

Barbara Capozzi

Packer Park Civic

Laurie Mazer

Parents United for Public Education


Drew Murray

Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition

Mary Grace Joyce

Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership

Adrian Rivera-Reyes

Philly Boricuas


Hannah Holliday

Philly DSA

Albert Littlepage

Point Breeze CDCoalition

Bishop Dwayne Royster

POWER Interfaith

Adams Rackes

Reclaim Philadelphia

Charles Reeves Jr

Resident Action Committee ll

David O’Connel

JeffPay PILOTs

Dr. Carolina Baltazar Edwards

Snyderville Community Development Corporation

Marcus Ferreira

South Street West Business Improvement District, Inc.

Donna Henry

Southwest CDC 

Michael Ross

Southwest Philadelphia District Services 


Theressa McCormick

The Pinnwheel Group Inc.

Antonio Parretta 

Veterans Stadium Neighbors

Vinh Ho

Vietnamese Association For Aging Philadelphia & Suburbs

Lorraine Gomez

Viola Street Residents Association

Mike Tannenbaum

West Chelten neighbors

Kyle Sampson

West Philadelphia Economic Development Council 

Heather Stanton

West Torresdale/Morrell Park Civic Association


Gertrude Weaver

Words by Weaver

Rapheal Randall

Youth United for Change

Billy Lanzilotti

1st Ward Republicans

Jon Geeting

5th Square

Michael Cibik

5th Ward Republican Committee

Timothy Reimer

27th Ward Republican RCO

El Amor Brawne Ali

37th Democratic Ward Executive Committee

Billy Lanzilotti 

39th Ward Republicans

Catherine Blunt

46 Ward Democratic Committee RCO

Timothy Reimer

46th Ward Republicans

Andrew Gentsch

51st Ward Republican RCO

Gary Grisafi

53rd republican ward