Illinois Schools being told to wait on lead testing law

By Blake Schnitker on February 8 at 12:24pm

Local schools are now being told to hold off on the new state law that would require them to test drinking water for lead contamination.

Illinois politicians passed a bill in early January requiring public schools and facilities built prior to 2000 serving students fifth grade and younger, to conduct lead testing in sources of drinking water by December of 2017.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek explains that District 117 has been waiting on more information regarding the lead-testing.

“One of the concerns we’ve had with the lead testing is how we are going to properly do this and answer up to what the new state law is. We’ve been waiting on them to give us specifics on where the testing samples are going to come from, specifically what testing they want, and we’ve got until December of this year to get this done,” says Ptacek.

Now, Ptacek says the district is being told to delay lead-testing until specific guidelines are released.

“We received information from the Regional Office of Education that the Illinois Department of Public Health says to hold off on the water testing until more guidance comes out. So we’re kind of on hold right now, waiting for specific guidelines on how to properly go through the water testing,” explains Ptacek.

Regional Superintendent of School for ROE 1 Jill Reis explains that the Illinois Department of Public Health is the authority regarding the situation.

“They have ninety days after that law was passed to write the rules and regulations. If a school went out right now to do lead testing, they might not do it according to the specifications that the health department is issuing. The guidance that we’ve received is to hold off on the testing until they give us the guidelines so then we can test appropriately,” says Reis.

The Regional Office of Education 1 serves Adams, Brown, Cass, Morgan, Pike and Scott Counties, but according to Reis, this is a state-wide delay.