INDIANAPOLIS—On Thursday, State Senator Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) filed a proposal mandating biennial testing of school drinking water in Lake County. The bill, which is similar to a proposal filed last year by the senator, comes as a response to harmful levels of lead found in the drinking water at multiple schools in Lake County.

“Most are aware of the lead issues we’ve had in Lake County over the past few years. Schools have had to suspend their students from drinking from the school fountains due to the discovery of dangerous levels of lead in the water. It is a very serious issue—and it’s been allowed to get to this point because we don’t have the proper regulations in place.

“As it stands, there is nothing requiring school drinking water to be tested regularly. That results in situations like we have now, where schools, after many years, finally have their water tested and discover that they have a lead issue. That’s really concerning. How long would the contaminated drinking water in Lake County schools have gone unnoticed if many of those schools hadn’t voluntarily opted into having their school water tested? There’s truly no way to know, and that’s why I’m filing this bill. We need to be sure we have the proper policies in place to protect our schools and their students.

“Requiring the testing of school drinking water allows us to keep a close eye on things and identify potential issues more quickly. This is very important, and I’m happy to have Senator Niemeyer join me in authoring this legislation. Schools in his district have also had lead issues and we are both fighting to address this situation in 2020. I hope that all of my colleagues will see the significance of this proposal and support us in advancing it.”