FOX10 News investigation prompts public schools to test for lead in drinking water

Water fountain (Credit: Franz Barraza, Chief Photographer FOX10 News)

The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) is announcing it will help all public schools statewide to test their drinking water for lead contamination.

This announcement comes during a FOX10 News Investigation of lead testing for schools and homes in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

FOX10 News Investigates has been gathering data about the lead content found in local water systems across the Gulf Coast for three months now.

Our investigation found there is no state law requiring schools in Alabama to test their drinking water for lead.

In Mobile and Baldwin counties, neither county school system has been testing its schools' water for lead contamination.

"Because, nothing has indicated that we need to," explained Eddie Tyler, Superintendent of Baldwin County Public Schools.

After FOX10 News started asking about lead testing in both school systems, the superintendents in both counties said they would test the water.

"You were asking questions, and so we said, oh okay, well we can go ahead and test. We have labs that test air quality and everything all the time in the system, so we said we'll go ahead and test and be able to share that information. So, that's what we're in the process of doing right now," said Mobile County Schools Superintendent Martha Peek.

Now, the ALSDE says it will help school systems statewide with lead testing, writing in a press release that the initiative is "an effort to promote public confidence, and to help schools minimize students' and staffs' exposure to possible high levels of lead in drinking water."

FOX10 News reached out to ALSDE officials for further explanation about the extent of the agency's assistance, but so far we have not received a response.

FOX10 News Investigates will show you our results of our extensive investigation into the issue next Wednesday night at 9 p.m. in our special report, "Testing the Waters."

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Investigative Reporter

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