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Virginia Beach delegate introduces water testing bills in General Assembly

The legislation would require school boards to submit plans to test and remediate water sources. It would also require schools to notify parents of the results.

RICHMOND, Va. — After dozens of failed lead water tests in Hampton Roads schools, Delegate Alex Askew introduced legislation to the General Assembly to require more transparency in local schools and daycares.

House Bill 797 would require each local school board to submit its plan to test and remediate certain potable water sources and report the results of any such test to the Department of Health. 

The bill also requires local school boards to take all necessary steps to notify parents if testing results indicate lead contamination that exceeds the maximum contaminant level goals set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

RELATED: New test results show more 'unacceptable' lead levels in Hampton Roads schools drinking water

RELATED: Virginia Beach City Public Schools officials reveal after-action plan following positive lead tests in water

It's an important issue for parents like Brianna Chaffin of Virginia Beach. 

"I do think those bills should pass. I think that would help us as parents, to know the levels in the water for our kids," said Chaffin. "I think anybody is concerned about the water that their child is drinking or using at school."

The bill was assigned to the House Education Sub-Committee: PreK-12.

View House Bill 797 below:

Askew also introduced legislation, House Bill 799, that would require licensed child day programs and certain other programs that serve preschool-age children to develop and implement a plan to test potable water from sources identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a high priority.

The bill would require a plan and the results of each test to be submitted and reviewed by the Commissioner of Social Services and the Department of Health's Office of Drinking Water.

RELATED: Environmental Protection Agency awards Virginia $430K to improve water quality

The bill claims if any test results show a level of lead in the potable water that is at or above 15 parts per billion, the program will need to remediate the level of lead in the potable water to below 15 parts per billion, confirm that the water was retested, and submit the results of the retests to the Commissioner of Social Services and the Department of Health's Office of Drinking Water for review.

The bill also provides programs the option of using bottled water instead of testing or remediation.

The bill was referred to the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee.

If the bills are passed, the laws would go into effect on July 1, 2021.

View House Bill 799 below: