I've been working with a small group of volunteers on a project to test NYC public drinking fountains for lead and I'm happy to announce that our website is live and tracking lead test results as they come in! https://www.citizenspring.org/
We're now looking for ways to engage communities that can help test local drinking fountains and upload the results to our map. The process is pretty simple and our web forms walk you through how to get a free lead test kit, collect scientifically accurate samples, and upload the results so everyone can see which fountains are safe and which ones have toxic levels of lead. To get started, just sign up to be a tester on our website https://www.citizenspring.org/#join
We're thinking it might be a good class science project to go out and test a fountain before they turn off for the winter or perhaps of interest to parent groups or running groups, but I'm interested to hear your ideas for how to engage communities to help put our parks & playground drinking fountains on the map!
A little background: As you may know, in 2017 WNYC reported brain-damaging levels of lead in NYC school drinking fountains. Some of these drinking fountains had lead levels so high that the water exceeded the EPA's hazardous waste classification, making it illegal to even dump it into the street. What's potentially even worse is that NYC is currently not reporting any testing of public drinking fountains in parks & playgrounds. This means kids (and pregnant & breastfeeding mothers) may be exposed to toxic levels of lead every time they go to the park to play, which is a real bummer because lead exposure can cause permanent brain damage.
We think that this is just the type of problem citizen science and open data can address... if a few people in every neighborhood test a fountain and share the data on a public map we can all keep our families safe from lead tainted water.
We'd love to hear your feedback and ideas!