Auditors: More testing needed for lead in water in Nevada schools | NevadaAppeal.com

Auditors: More testing needed for lead in water in Nevada schools

Auditors say overall, the state EPA does a good job of testing Nevada's water systems and ensuring drinking water is safe for state residents.

But they urged the division to work with school districts to expand testing in schools. Lead poisoning can reduce mental and physical development among children.

Auditors found most of Nevada school districts haven't taken advantage of a federally funded project to test schools for lead, which is commonly caused in water systems by corrosion in the pipes themselves that releases lead from soldered joints.

"While systems may treat water to control corrosion, drinking water can still break down lead-containing service lines resulting in high levels of lead in plumbing fixtures," the audit states.

They pointed out the federal grant not only provides money to test school water fixtures including drinking fountains and sinks, it provides money to replace contaminated fixtures.

So far, they said, lead testing has only been done in six of Nevada's 17 school districts and 189 or the 391 eligible schools. Although those tests found just eight sinks with unhealthy levels of lead, they urged the agency to work with schools to test additional fixtures.

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In the 598 water systems in Nevada, the auditors said the agency gets good grades for timely testing and for the quality of the testing by state laboratories. They credited EPA for the "consistency and accuracy of water quality testing."