Fort Worth

Two Water Quality Complaints Helped Lead to FWISD District-Wide Testing

Documents obtained by NBC 5 show there were some questions about drinking water at several Fort Worth ISD schools.

Now, 500 water fountains are coming out across the district after testing found unsafe levels of lead at 28 of its 116 campuses.

"We had a big, long conversation that we never tested our water," said Fort Worth ISD spokesman Clint Bond.

That's because it's never been required in schools. Testing is left, instead, to the water authority.

An email from January shows one teacher's concerns about brown water in the fountains at Leonard Middle School. It was alarming to families preparing to start school there next week.

"That's a big concern, as far as health," said Leonard Middle School parent Crystal Haynes.

But the district followed up quickly and test results showed no problems with iron, lead or bacteria. They did fix a small problem discovered with the chlorine level.

There was another complaint about a chlorine smell from a water fountain at Western Hills High School after Thanksgiving break, but levels there came back as acceptable.

"To focus just on the schools is kind of disingenuous because this happens in people's homes, it happens in businesses, it happens in hospitals. It happens all over," said Bond.

But at least while children are in school, Fort Worth ISD now says they'll be sure the water they drink is safe.

"This is something we have decided, as a district, to do," said Bond. "Going forward there's no reason for us not to do this. Now that we have a baseline, we can compare every test that we do going forward."

Fort Worth says the biggest trigger for their testing was the disaster with Flint, Michigan's water. FWISD custodians will now be flushing fountains and faucets every morning to keep the water fresh.

Other districts are doing their own testing, too. NBC 5 is awaiting results from Arlington, while Plano plans to start testing its drinking water next year.

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