Fountains OK'd, bottles removed at 31 city schools

December 22, 2006

Baltimore school officials announced yesterday that bottled water is being removed from another 31 city schools that have been found to have adequate and safe working fountains.

In 2003, then-city Health Commission Peter L. Beilenson ordered the fountains turned off at all of the city's public schools when it was discovered that many had unsafe levels of lead contamination. Temporary bottled-water coolers were installed across the system.

About a year later, city school officials turned the fountains back on at the first elementary school to be repaired, Cross Country. Many fountains at most of the city's schools have since been turned on after repairs and testing by the health department, but many have also kept their water coolers, according to school officials.

"We are delighted that students and staff at these schools can now safely return to reliance on their own water supply thanks to the ongoing collaborative efforts of concerned parents and the [Baltimore City Health Department]," schools Interim Chief Executive Officer Charlene C. Boston said in a statement.

School officials say that in schools where there are not working fountains in certain areas, such as gymnasiums or cafeterias, coolers will remain.

Schools where water coolers are being removed include: James McHenry Elementary/Southwest Charter, Johnston Square Elementary, George Washington Elementary, Commodore John Rodgers Elementary, Abbottston/Stadium Elementary, Waverly Elementary, Barclay Elementary/Middle, Edgecombe Circle Elementary, Liberty Elementary, Windsor Hills Elementary, Lyndhurst Elementary, Moravia Park Primary/Elementary, Alexander Hamilton Elementary, Bentalou Elementary, Thurgood Marshall Middle and High/Samuel L. Banks High, Hazelwood Elementary/Middle, Guilford Elementary & Middle, Morrell Park Elementary, Hamilton Elementary/Middle, Beechfield Elementary, Sinclair Lane Elementary, Claremont School, Sharp-Leadenhall Elementary, Mergenthaler Vo-Tech, Baltimore School of the Arts, Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy and Central Career Academy at Briscoe.

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