Skip Navigation

News Release: PGCPS to Launch Final Phase of Water Quality Program

March 29, 2017
For Immediate Release

Office of Communications

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) will launch the final phase of its water quality program in April.

Starting mid-month, PGCPS will conduct comprehensive sampling and testing of drinking water sources at all schools and centers for water quality, including lead, working with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)and an independent laboratory. The testing timetable – originally scheduled to begin this summer – was moved up in response to public inquiries about PGCPS water quality.

“Over the past 13 years, we have worked diligently to address water quality throughout the system. We are confident that our buildings have safe drinking water and we want the public to have no doubt,” said Dr. W. Wesley Watts Jr., Chief Operating Officer. “WSSC has offered to assist with this effort. We appreciate the community advocacy on this issue and the support from WSSC and our government partners to complete this work.”

An estimated 3,000 sources in all schools and centers – more than 200 sites – will be tested.

WSSC will conduct tests to detect lead level in water samples collected by PGCPS at targeted school sites; PGCPS will handle the remaining schools in collaboration with the independent lab. In addition, PGCPS will begin installing filtered water fountains this summer at all schools.

Water supplied by WSSC meets or exceeds all federal and state water quality regulations and falls well below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Action Level for lead. The water utility completed an extensive lead pipe replacement project approximately 12 years ago.

“WSSC is pleased to partner with PGCPS and lend our nearly century of water-quality expertise to help ensure the safety of drinking water within schools,” said Carla A. Reid, WSSC General Manager and CEO. “While we know our drinking water is safe, we also know that some older buildings may have lead sources within their private plumbing systems. Our tests will help PGCPS identify issues within schools’ plumbing systems.”

PGCPS launched the 2004 Lead in Water Program as a response to public concerns regarding lead in Washington, DC pipes. Since then, PGCPS has implemented several phases of remediation to address drinking water sources with elevated lead levels, as mandated by the EPA. These actions have included flushing the system, replacing pipes and fixtures, and completely shutting off fixtures.

The last system-wide testing for lead was completed in 2009. There are no federal or state mandates for annual testing. Additional tests have been conducted since then as needed; the actions taken complied with EPA guidelines. Future plans include retesting schools every three years.

Results from the comprehensive testing will be shared when completed. Remediation efforts will begin once results are known. The school system will also address other water quality issues that arise during the testing.

For more information, visit the Water Quality Program .