HONOLULU (KHON2) — Drinking water at select Hawaii public schools and childcare facilities have recently shown elevated concentrations of lead, according to a joint announcement by the state Dept. of Education (DOE), Dept. of Health (DOH) and Dept. of Human Services (DHS).

About 4% of the water samples collected from faucets and drinking fountains at these facilities show presence of lead. Water is no longer being used from these sources while monitoring continues.

“The schools and child care facilities were notified immediately upon the receipt of the results and those water sources are no longer in use,” said Michael Miyahira, Acting Branch Chief of DOH’s Safe Drinking Water Branch. “We would like to assure the community that taps that had elevated levels of lead will not be used for drinking or food preparation until the problem is fixed.”

To date, 58 schools and 70 childcare facilities in Hawaii, Maui and Kauai counties have completed testing. Out of 2,232 sampled taps at schools, 93 showed elevated concentrations of lead above the project action level of 15 parts per billion. The program reported four of the 100 sampled taps at childcare facilities had results above the action level. Altogether, about 4% of samples have had results above the action level.

Testing on Oahu began in mid-July. Results will be available on a rolling basis. 

Click here to see the results on the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) website.

The DOE, DOH and DHS launched the first phase of the joint project in February 2021, which was part of a national program established by the WIIN Act of 2016 to test drinking water sources for lead from classroom sinks, drinking fountains and more. The project will test 106 DOE elementary schools and 123 DHS licensed childcare facilities, which were selected by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The program has requested more funding to test the remaining 73 DOE elementary schools and 30 public charter schools in the second phase of the project, which is expected to begin in summer 2022.