Water for D.C. Kids.org

Families seeking healthy water solutions for the children of the District of Columbia:   

Free bottled water, filters for poor women, infants and children; rebates for taxpayers; expedited lead line replacement

full disclosure, mapping of lead affected areas, comprehensive testing of city schools, recreations centers, libraries,

and licensed child care facilities, public outreach and education, particularly among hard-to-reach populations

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UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: A presentation of pressing but unaddressed concerns surrounding the water emergency facing the District of Columbia.

Please send us your unanswered question, which may be published - without your name - below.

Question for week of 3/9/04: 

If there are high lead levels in an apartment building, is the landlord responsible for providing free bottled water?  Filters?  Is it sufficient to tell tenants to run the water before drinking it?

Question for week of 3/1/04:  What about apartment buildings?  Should tenants trust landlord reassurances?  Is WASA refusing to provide test results and kits to individual tenants of multi-unit dwellings?

Answer:  In summary, find out the basis for your landlord's assurances, and arrange your own lead testing.  Read here for a fuller answer.

Question for 2/26/04:  The recent health advisory against unfiltered tap water consumption by pregnant women and children living in homes serviced by lead lines, would imply that lead is leaching from pipes not only supplied by the city but in the home's fixtures, the home's plumbing and on the property line.  Since most of the city's residents receive tap water using some type of lead component, plumbing or lead-containing fixture, why not urge all of the city's pregnant women, and children under 6 years to avoid drinking the tap water.  Why not free filters or bottled water for all of this population of the entire city?

Answer:  This failure to provide universal health precautions is alarming and tragically fits the pattern of city leaders and WASA officials in the course of malfeasance that they began when they gave up the chance to disclose this problem as long ago as 2002.   In light of the D.C. Department of Health Advisory for homes serviced by lead lines, it is best to urge the entire population of pregnant women and children under age 6 to avoid the consumption of unfiltered tap water.  In the interest of justice, the city should provide free filters and bottled water to anybody who needs it.

Question 1

Why the surge in lead levels?  No one knows. What is almost certain is that the lead has been leaching from lead pipes, and or lead components like solders on copper pipes, and/or lead fixtures in homes.  The cause of the leaching is believed to be chemicals used to treat the source water of the city's drinking water -- the Potomac River.

Question 2

How are the lead levels in the city's public school facilities?    WASA announced on February 10 that testing would begin of the city's schools on Saturday, February 14 and results would be back in one month's time. See results from the February 14 tests, but note that the samples were drawn after the water had been flushed for 10 minutes.  Many experts believe the sampling is therefore invalidated because children do not run fountains or sinks for 10 minutes prior to consuming the water.

Question 3

If the schools are going to be tested, then surely the drinking water has been made inaccessible to the children or will be until the testing period begins?

Hopefully next week this will have begun to happen.  As of February 10, water fountains are still being used in the DCPS and have not been made inaccessible to children.

Question 4

Which areas of the city have been tested?  Why are there no maps to show this?

It is unclear at this time.  There has been a call for mapping of tested areas by environmental experts.  Some maps are now available. See WASA's information about mapping

Question 5

Why does WASA not always tell its customers that you can still be drinking lead-contaminated water even if you do not have lead pipes ?  Why not explicitly mention the lead soldering ?