Jones, Schuitmaker introduce bills to protect children and water

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require adequate testing of the drinking water in Michigan schools and other public places.

“Being the Great Lake State comes with great responsibility, and the health and welfare of Michigan residents is a top priority,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “We must all come together to ensure that all Michigan families are protected from drinking water contamination.”

Senate Bills 724-726 would allow the state to perform ample testing for drinking water in schools and enable a specialized task force to provide accountability through reviews of this testing.

“The crisis in Flint has brought to light concern that schools are not testing water that is brought in through municipal water systems,” Jones said. “These bills would require copper and lead testing at least once a year to make sure the drinking water does not exceed certain levels.”

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker is a co-sponsor of the three-bill package.

“This is about ensuring clean and healthy drinking water for our children — especially at school,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “It is time to act to ensure that Michigan residents can be confident that their drinking water is safe. These bills are one way to ensure proper oversight and accountability to make sure that nothing like the Flint water emergency happens again.”

SB 724 would require water suppliers of public and nonpublic schools to collect and test drinking water samples once a year for the presence of lead and copper. The Safe Schools Drinking Water Task Force would be created to review the Department of Environmental Quality’s water sampling and analysis protocols and also to recommend changes that would be productive to public health.

SB 725 would amend the Strategic Water Quality Initiatives Fund to allow funding for the sampling and analysis of water samples of public water suppliers under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

SB 726 would instruct a water supplier, prior to changing to a new water source to be used for the public water supply, to conduct a water analysis to ensure its safety.