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house Bill H.R. 4879

Should States Test School Water for Lead Before Receiving Safe Water Grants?

Argument in favor

It's crucial to have safe, clean water drinking water in America's schools. This bill would force states to protect children by testing school water for lead.

BTSundra's Opinion
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04/09/2016
Seems like they should already be testing this before granting these funds.
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Wanda's Opinion
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04/09/2016
A parent should be able to have confidence that their child will kit be poisoned by drinking the water at school.
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Elissa's Opinion
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04/09/2016
States need to have these standards to protect children in schools.
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Argument opposed

Testing for lead is a good thing, but withholding safe water funding from states that fail to do so could mean even worse water for some Americans.

Heather's Opinion
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04/10/2016
This bill does not seem to leave any room for WHERE the lead taint originates from. Instead, it punishes the school for a problem that may or may not have originated with the school. And if the problem originates in the water plant or outside pipelines or elsewhere, then the school CANNOT fix the problem itself. However, the school would still be losing vital funding which would ultimately harm the children who depend on the school for their education.
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SherryTX's Opinion
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04/09/2016
First off, why are we paying taxes so the govt can give it back to the states? Eliminating this program and allowing states to keep their own money would eliminate the involvement of the Feds for an issue that is CLEARLY a state issue. This is an issue that is between the school districts, parents and the states. How sad is it that we have become so "nanny-fied" that parent and the school districts, working with the state, can't meet national standards for safe water, or anything else for that matter. It's past time the we take personal responsibility for things that affect our families and communities.
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operaman's Opinion
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04/12/2016
This is a crazy question. Making the water safe from lead before applying for a Safe Water Grant. Weird government thinking. Maybe the question should be why hasn't this problem been detected 50 years ago. So who failed? The Feds? The state? Then there is the counties, cities and school districts. My Chemistry 101 class has the students check for lead, selenium and other heavy metals. Drill a water well on your property and the county has to certify it before it can be used. So this lead business showing up now demonstrates why the EPA is doing a terrible job. Remember the Animas River?
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Environment and Climate Change
    IntroducedMarch 23rd, 2016

What is House Bill H.R. 4879?

The TEST for Lead Act would require any state that receives funding from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to regularly test the lead level of the water in its schools.

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is a federal program that helps states fund local safe water projects. All 50 states participate.

This bill would require states receiving DWSRF funds to help their local educational agencies test school water fountains, bathrooms, and water used for food preparation. Schools built before 1996 would be tested twice a year, and schools built more recently would be tested annually.

If elevated lead levels were discovered in a school (anything higher than the action level set by the Environmental Protection Agency), the local educational agency would be required to notify parents, the Administrator of the EPA, and the state within 48 hours.

The bill seeks to add these requirements to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Impact

States, school districts, children who attend public and charter schools, school staff, the EPA

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4879

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In Depth: Contaminated drinking water gained national attention in late 2015, when reports out of Flint, Michigan showed dangerously high levels of lead.

Over the past several years, there have been lead scares in schools across the nation. Most recently, 30 public schools in Newark, NJ — which sponsoring Rep. Donald Payne (D) represents — discovered elevated lead levels and shut down their drinking water in March 2016.

The elevated levels were discovered during voluntary testing by the Newark school district. Few schools are federally required to test their water by law.

(Photo Credit: Amanda Mills, USCDCP / Public Domain Images)

AKA

TEST for Lead Act

Official Title

To amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to condition a State's receipt of funds for a drinking water treatment revolving loan fund on such State carrying out a program to test for lead in drinking water for schools.

    Seems like they should already be testing this before granting these funds.
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    This bill does not seem to leave any room for WHERE the lead taint originates from. Instead, it punishes the school for a problem that may or may not have originated with the school. And if the problem originates in the water plant or outside pipelines or elsewhere, then the school CANNOT fix the problem itself. However, the school would still be losing vital funding which would ultimately harm the children who depend on the school for their education.
    Like (12)
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    Should be mandatory
    Like (11)
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    First off, why are we paying taxes so the govt can give it back to the states? Eliminating this program and allowing states to keep their own money would eliminate the involvement of the Feds for an issue that is CLEARLY a state issue. This is an issue that is between the school districts, parents and the states. How sad is it that we have become so "nanny-fied" that parent and the school districts, working with the state, can't meet national standards for safe water, or anything else for that matter. It's past time the we take personal responsibility for things that affect our families and communities.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    This is a crazy question. Making the water safe from lead before applying for a Safe Water Grant. Weird government thinking. Maybe the question should be why hasn't this problem been detected 50 years ago. So who failed? The Feds? The state? Then there is the counties, cities and school districts. My Chemistry 101 class has the students check for lead, selenium and other heavy metals. Drill a water well on your property and the county has to certify it before it can be used. So this lead business showing up now demonstrates why the EPA is doing a terrible job. Remember the Animas River?
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    A parent should be able to have confidence that their child will kit be poisoned by drinking the water at school.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    States need to have these standards to protect children in schools.
    Like (5)
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    It's fuckin water. The most necessary of all resources.
    Like (4)
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    It's obvious looking at Flint, that GOP governors can't be trusted to look out for the good of their residents, therefore the federal government needs to step in before any other group of children are deliberately poisoned.
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    We can't trust what's in our water systems after years of Flints water crisis going unnoticed. Certain places, including my school, you can taste the chlorine or metallic in the drinking water. Saving money or saving your kids?
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    Please stop this type of legislative madness. If there is lead in the school water, there is probably contamination in the surrounding area. Find the source before applying flawed thinking to this.
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    That should be a minimum requirement for receiving any of that funding
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    Definitely. A guarantee of safe water means it should be free of lead.
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    Seems silly to even have to vote for this, safe water for our children is a no brainer
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    I'm a proponent of safe drinking water, but forcing states to act is unconstitutional. Tying federally obtained funds to essentially extort states into acting is one of the reasons we've arrived at our current imbalance of government power. This needs to be stopped and reversed.
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    States have shown throughout history (see: Civil Rights Act) that they are often incapable of caring for the interests of minorities with no effective political power. Not only are children one such exploited minority (see: food brand advertising in schools) but there's an even higher potential for such exploitation in schools of largely minority children, say, in inner city settings. The federal govt should use whatever resources it can to prod states in the right direction.
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    After all that has happened, we need to verify our water is safe.
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    This is basically saying "should states have clean water before they are awarded money for having clean water". It's that simple
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    Why would we allow children to consume contaminated water?
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    By definition, water isn't clean if it has lead in it. Why should our children be subject to lead poisoning simply because the school doesn't want to test for lead? Money is a useful inventive, especially in schools, and will get the job done quickly, efficiently, and correctly.
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