Resource

Coalition Letter in Support of Hydration Stations

70+ Organizations Support Getting the Lead Out of Philly Schools' Drinking Water
Last updated: 5/10/2022

Dear Dr. Hite,

On behalf of the organizations signed below, we are writing to ask you to allocate less than ½ of 1%-- approximately $2-4 million--of the District's $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds to comprehensively address the threat posed by lead in Philadelphia school drinking water, once and for all. This is a critical step that will protect generations of kids from the negative effects of lead exposure. 

Since the 2014 Flint, Michigan lead-in-drinking-water crisis, there's been ongoing public concern about -- and attention to -- addressing the threat of lead in drinking water.  It’s well-proven that lead exposure causes numerous negative health effects, including damage to the nervous system, learning disabilities, and impaired hearing. Lead exposure is unsafe at any level. 

Because children spend so much time in school buildings during their prime years of development, lead contamination in school drinking water is particularly dangerous. Recent data shows that 60 percent of all water samples taken from Philadelphia school water outlets had elevated levels of lead. 

There is now an opportunity to change course. The recent federal stimulus package signed into law by President Biden offers the chance to help address this threat: this funding package directs $1.1 billion to the School District of Philadelphia, which can allow the District to address long standing issues that were previously difficult to tackle due to fiscal constraints. With just a small portion of the District’s $1.1 billion allocation, the District has the resources to address this threat districtwide.

Given this, the undersigned groups respectfully call on the School District of Philadelphia to announce a district-wide initiative to ensure safe drinking water for all children in the district to:

  1. Allocate $2-4 million of the District's federal stimulus (ESSER III) funds to replace all remaining drinking water fountains with hydration stations with lead filters by 2024. 

  2. Reaffirm the District's commitment to at least one working outlet per 100 students for both school capacity and actual enrollment for each school building. 

  3. Ensure point of use filters certified to remove lead are also installed on any sinks used to prepare food or beverages.

  4. Given the scale and scope of this project, we would ask that the District prioritize replacing old fountains with hydration stations in schools with the highest levels of lead contamination.

  5. Ensuring that water bottle filling stations installed in a public school buildings:

    1. Are regularly cleaned to maintain sanitary conditions;

    2. Are maintained on a regular basis to ensure they function properly;

  6. Regularly train staff on how to maintain filtration systems and educate teachers, students, and staff to recognize when a hydration station indicates that the filter needs to be changed.

  7. Reaffirm the District’s policy to allow and promote having students, teachers, and staff bring and carry approved water bottles into school buildings to utilize hydration stations and promote drinking healthy water.

We look forward to hearing back from you on this important topic, and call on you to take these steps immediately to protect students’ health from the threat of lead in drinking water. 


Sincerely,


David Masur

PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Emma Horst-Martz

PennPIRG Education Fund

Pastor Willie Francois

Black Church Center for Justice and Equality

Jacob Zychick

American Heart Association

Odessa Tate 

All In The Family


Eugene Desyatnik

Bella Vista Neighbors Association


Staci Harris

Brewerytown Sharswood Community Civic Association


Yvonne Stephens

Bridesburg Community Action Alliance 


Mark Harris

Cathedral Park CDC


Chris Spahr

Centennial Parkside CDC


Clark Dingman

Center City Organized for Responsible Development

 

Celeste Hardester

Central Roxborough Civic Association


Rev. Chester Williams

Chew & Belfield Neighborhood Club


Douglas Rucker

Chew and Chelten CDC


Colleen McCauley

Children First


Ahaviah Glaser

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


Larissa Mogano

Cobbs Creek Neighbors


Andre Sawyer

Community 360


Molly Parzen

Conservation Voters of PA


Tracy Carluccio

Delaware Riverkeeper Network


Andre Sawyer

Democratic 4th ward


Morgan Berman

Dickinson Square Civic Association


Victoria Miles-Chambliss

Empowered CDC Inc.


Claire Murphy

Families for Houston


Nichole Girgenti

Friends of Southwark


Debra Stewart

Friends of Nebinger 


Elaine Wells

Global Thinking Initiatives Inc


Maria Gonzalez

HACE CDC


Shannon Farrell

Harrowgate Civic Association 


Elizabeth Ayala

Hispanic Community Counseling Services Administration


Rachel Mark

The Health, Education and Legal Assistance Project: A Medical-Legal Partnership at Widener University


Emily Pugliese

Henry H. Houston HSA


Ruth I Birchett

Heritage Community Development Corporation


Mary Grace Joyce

Mabel Morris Family Home Visit Program

 

Mary Grace Joyce

National Nurse-Led Care Consortium


Bill McKinney

New Kensington CDC


Lynn Schwartz

Our City, Our Schools


Mary Allen

Overbrook Farms Club


Gregory Allen

Overbrook West Neighbors


Barbara Capozzi

Packer Park Civic


Laurie Mazer

Parents United for Public Education

 

Drew Murray

Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition


Mary Grace Joyce

Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership


Adrian Rivera-Reyes

Philly Boricuas

 

Hannah Holliday

Philly DSA


Albert Littlepage

Point Breeze CDCoalition


Bishop Dwayne Royster

POWER Interfaith


Adams Rackes

Reclaim Philadelphia


Charles Reeves Jr

Resident Action Committee ll


David O'Connel

JeffPay PILOTs


Dr. Carolina Baltazar Edwards

Snyderville Community Development Corporation


Marcus Ferreira

South Street West Business Improvement District, Inc.


Donna Henry

Southwest CDC 


Michael Ross

Southwest Philadelphia District Services 

 

Theressa McCormick

The Pinnwheel Group Inc.


Antonio Parretta 

Veterans Stadium Neighbors


Vinh Ho

Vietnamese Association For Aging Philadelphia & Suburbs


Lorraine Gomez

Viola Street Residents Association


Mike Tannenbaum

West Chelten neighbors


Kyle Sampson

West Philadelphia Economic Development Council 


Heather Stanton

West Torresdale/Morrell Park Civic Association

 

Gertrude Weaver

Words by Weaver


Rapheal Randall

Youth United for Change


Billy Lanzilotti

1st Ward Republicans


Jon Geeting

5th Square


Michael Cibik

5th Ward Republican Committee


Timothy Reimer

27th Ward Republican RCO


El Amor Brawne Ali

37th Democratic Ward Executive Committee


Billy Lanzilotti 

39th Ward Republicans


Catherine Blunt

46 Ward Democratic Committee RCO


Timothy Reimer

46th Ward Republicans


Andrew Gentsch

51st Ward Republican RCO


Gary Grisafi

53rd republican ward

 

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