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“The DC Public Library recently tested lead levels in drinking water sources…seven water sources at four library locations are above the actionable level”

lead levels dc
Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

From the DC Public Library:

“Your safety and the safety of your family are important to us. The DC Public Library recently tested lead levels in drinking water sources, including water fountains and kitchenette sinks, in all public library locations in D.C.  The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the testing procedures and results.

During the first two weeks of June, 122 drinking water sources were tested with 244 samples taken from these sources and sent to a lab for analysis. Out of 122 drinking water sources, the analysis shows 115 drinking water sources are below the actionable level and seven water sources at four library locations are above. The seven sources are a kitchenette sink at Georgetown Library, a water fountain at Lamond-Riggs Library, four water fountains, including three fountains in staff and mechanical areas, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and a water fountain at Southwest Library.

The Library immediately shut off the sources that registered above the actionable level and posted signs informing residents not to drink from these sources. The Library is in the process of repairing the sources by installing filters or replacing equipment. We will re-test the water source and restore only if the issue is resolved.

The DC Public Library and its 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 library users and staff from drinking the water.

You can find the results of lead testing at all D.C. public libraries at You can learn more about the city-wide approach to lead testing at You can also find information about national standards on the EPA’s website at

Your safety is paramount. If you are concerned about your health or the health of your family, we recommend you contact your family physician. For questions about the Library’s lead testing, please contact Patrick Healy, DC Public Library Risk Manager at [email protected].”


Related from the Mayor’s Office:

District Government Adopts New Lead Testing Policy

Today, Deputy City Administrator Kevin Donahue announced that the Department of General Services will move to incorporate a 1 PPB (part-per-billion) action level for lead tests on drinking water sources in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) centers. The effort comes on the heels of last week’s report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Prevention of Childhood Lead Toxicity, that lead testing resulting in a reading of more than 1 PPB should be immediately remediated.

“Lead exposure in children is preventable, and we will be working diligently to set policy at our facilities that goes far beyond EPA standards,” said Kevin Donahue, Deputy City Administrator. “By investing the time, training, and resources to follow the new recommendations outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, we will ensure that the District continues to do everything it can to protect our children, and limit students’ exposure to lead.”

Under the current operating policy, drinking water sources in District public schools and recreation centers testing at or above 15 PPB are fitted with a filter or taken out of operation. The sources are returned to operation once follow-up testing yields a clean reading. Following recent findings of lead in water at a small number of schools, District officials completed testing of all water sources at every single District of Columbia Public School and recreation center, per the direction of Mayor Muriel Bowser. This newly implemented policy will bring a more rigorous approach to the testing.

The new policy is estimated to cost the District nearly $2 million at the onset, which includes the installation of filters on all drinking water sources at public schools, public libraries, and recreation centers. Implementation is expected to be completed this calendar year. The District will also work with District of Columbia Public Charter Schools and District of Columbia Public Libraries to install filters on drinking water sources. The expected annual cost of $1.5 million will support regular testing, maintenance, and supplies for District of Columbia Public Schools and recreation centers.

This policy is slated to be included in Deputy City Administrator Donahue’s testimony before the Council of the District of Columbia’s Committees on Education and Transportation and the Environment on Wednesday, June 22. For more information on lead testing and exposure in the District visit”

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