Drinking Water Is Safe at Seaton

Below is a letter regarding the results of the recent water tests conducted at Seaton Elementary School. As the letter indicates,  none of the drinking water sources at Seaton tested above the Environmental Protection Agency’s action level.

May 10, 2016

Dear Parent or Guardian:

As educators, your child’s safety is our first priority. That is why we’re writing to update you about water tests that were performed at your child’s school. All drinking water sources at Seaton Elementary School were tested on 5/4/2016, and we are happy to report that none of those water sources had lead above the action level set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although there were no issues flagged at Seaton Elementary School, we would like to take this opportunity to share what the District of Columbia does to ensure that the drinking water is safe at all of our schools.

Since 2007, the Department of General Services (DGS) has conducted annual water testing in all DCPS’ buildings. DGS hires a third-party contractor to conduct these tests.

When water is tested at your child’s school, two separate water samples are collected from every known drinking-water source in the building, including water fountains and food preparation sinks, which are then delivered to a lab for analysis. It is not standard practice to test non-drinking water sources. The Certified Drinking Water Sampler enters the building very early in the morning to ensure that the water system has not been used for at least eight hours prior to testing. A building custodian assists the tester in identifying all known water sources the day prior to the testing.

DGS and their contractors follow the EPA’s guidelines to determine if there is an actionable amount of lead or other unsafe substances in drinking water. If a high level of lead or any other unsafe substance is found, steps are taken immediately to prevent students and staff from drinking the water. DGS then works as quickly as possible to fix the issue, which might include installing filters or replacing equipment. Additional water samples will be tested to confirm that the fixes put in place are successful, before reopening the water source.

You can learn more about the national standards for water safety at schools on the EPA’s website: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-drinking-water-schools-and-child-care-facilities. Additionally, the Washington Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) provides many services to District residents. Please see this letter from WASA’s General Manager to learn more: https://www.dcwater.com/lead/LetterToCustomers.cfm.

Additionally, to get “The Facts on Lead” and learn more about DGS enhanced water testing protocol, please go to http://oca.dc.gov/lead. We invite you to visit our frequently asked questions page at http://dcps.dc.gov/page/water-testing-lead.

The safety of your child is paramount to us, just as it is to you. If you are concerned about your child’s health, we recommend you contact your pediatrician. If you have additional health questions or concerns about where to obtain lead screenings, please contact Diana K. Bruce, Director of Health and Wellness at Diana.Bruce@dc.gov or (202) 442-5103.

Thank you for your continued support.

Nathaniel Beers, MD, MPA, FAAP

Chief Operating Officer