(BIVN) – A new website has been launched, allowing the public to monitor the progress of repairs to school drinking fountains that tested positive for lead.
The website, which shows no repair projects on the Island of Hawaiʻi have been started, was introduced in a Wednesday news release:
In 2021 and 2022, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) collaborated on a project to test all drinking water sources at HIDOE elementary schools for lead.
The project, which was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation (WIIN) Act, found evidence of lead in the drinking water in about 15 percent of drinking water sources at elementary schools across the state. Results of the testing were posted publicly on the WIIN project website and were also displayed in school offices. Drinking water taps discovered with lead were immediately removed from service or turned into handwashing-only stations.
As a result of the findings, DOH and HIDOE competed for and were awarded a $1.4 million grant from the EPA to replace the problematic fixtures and re-test the water to confirm the lead is no longer present.
Of the 1,500 water fixtures scheduled for replacement at 170 elementary schools, more than 600 fixtures have been replaced with confirmation testing showing an 85 percent success rate of eliminating measurable lead. The water sources that have not passed confirmatory testing are being evaluated for further repair and remediation efforts. The remaining fixtures are expected to be replaced over the next few months with scheduling dependent on the availability of contractors, plumbers, and supplies in the school’s area.
A new website has also been launched to allow the public to track the progress of the ongoing fixture replacements, and to view lab results of the confirmatory testing.
The WIIN Fixture Replacement Project Progress website can be viewed by visiting the WIIN Project website and clicking on the blue button labeled “WIIN Fixture Replacement Project.” The progress of the replacements and the confirmatory water testing is updated daily.