Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Safe Water in Schools in the US

Marc Edwards, a professor at Virginia Tech who has been leading the research and political pressure against lead in drinking water pipes for years (see http://flintwaterstudy.org for the VA Tech team's fantastic work in Flint), and Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute have published a call for "Safe Water in Schools" to rebuild trust between residents of Flint, MI, and the public utility (if you haven't seen the crisis in Flint, MI, check out this for a timeline of what's unfolded in the last year).

The new Sustainable Development Goals for water will likely focus on access to safe water in schools; clearly the US has not achieved this SDG, given how many lead service lines are in fountains in elementary schools across the nation.

Their proposal includes:
"Require and implement a water-quality monitoring program for every school to regularly reconfirm the safety of the tap water and water fountains. For some schools, this program could include the participation of science programs and students, working with independent testing laboratories."
This is a sound and necessary proposal that could be appropriate in both developed and developing country contexts, especially in line with the new SDGs.

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