water

Lead Problems Also Show up in Rayburn House Office Building
Latest testing identifies two restroom sinks with tainted water

A staffer walks past the Senator Sam Rayburn statue in the Rayburn House Office building. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Water from two bathroom sinks in the Rayburn House Office Building — located in the personal suites of House members — contains high levels of lead.  

The Rayburn building is the second congressional facility after the Cannon House Office Building where recent tests have detected elevated lead levels.  

Ross Requests Investigation into Murky Capitol Hill Water Scare
Officials must answer for “alarming unresponsiveness” on lead levels

Florida Rep. Dennis Ross blasted the "alarming unresponsiveness and poor communication" of staff at the architect of the Capitol over the water contamination scare. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Republican Rep. Dennis A. Ross wants the Office of Compliance to take a hard look at how Stephen T. Ayers, the architect of the Capitol, has handled a health scare precipitated by the detection of lead-contaminated drinking water in the Cannon House Office Building last month.  

In the two weeks since government officials were first warned about the potential health hazard, the actions of the architect of the Capitol have ranged from temporarily disabling a handful of drinking fountains to offering free, voluntary check-ups to worried staffers.  

Blood Tests for House Staffers Concerned About Tainted Water
Elevated lead levels in drinking water at one office building raises questions and prompts some to get screened

The Architect of the Capitol instructed staff to visit the health unit in the Rayburn House Office Building for free blood work. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

At least a half-dozen House staffers showed up Wednesday for the free blood testing being offered to those worried about lead-contaminated drinking water on Capitol Hill.  

The architect of the Capitol arranged for the emergency screenings after days of releasing dribs and drabs of nebulous information about the health scare related to elevated lead levels in the drinking water at the Cannon building.  

Officials to Explain Hazards of House Office Drinking Water
Congressional staff invited to briefing after elevated lead levels found

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., demanded more information on the extent of the health hazard on the congressional campus . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Officials with the Architect of the Capitol will answer questions about the severity of contaminated drinking water on the congressional campus in three meetings today after repeated requests from Florida Republican Dennis A. Ross.  

[Water in House Office Building Too Dangerous to Drink] The discussions are scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. in the Cannon House Office Building. Earlier this week AOC banned staff in Cannon from using drinking fountains and office filtration units after spotting elevated levels of lead in recent test samples.  

Ultimatum Given on Tainted Water in House Office Building
Congressman wants answers on lead levels; Officials set three briefings for Friday

The Cannon House Office Building where lead levels in drinking water have sparked concern. (Congressional Quarterly/File Photo)

Florida Republican Rep. Dennis A. Ross issued an ultimatum Thursday insisting that House administrators formally respond to a request for clarification about health hazards congressional staffers may be facing as a result of having possibly ingested tainted drinking water since last fall.  

Agents of the architect of the Capitol on Wednesday initially alerted only those located in the Cannon House Office Building that their drinking water was to be avoided pending an investigation into troubling levels of lead contamination.  

Water in House Office Building Too Dangerous to Drink
Congressional administrators investigating sudden spike in lead levels

Jiaxuan Tai, 5, takes a drink from the fountain on the west front of the Capitol in July 2006. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

All sources of drinking water in the Cannon House Office Building were shut down Tuesday after the architect of the Capitol noticed unusually high amounts of lead during routine sampling, a health scare lawmakers deemed totally unacceptable.  

“The most recent results, received the week of June 27, 2016, indicate lead levels in primary drinking water sources (e.g., drinking fountains) are slightly above the Environmental Protection Agency standard,” AOC officials warned on an internal discussion board.  

Energy-Water Vote to Come Monday or Tuesday

The Senate is looking to wrap up consideration of its $37.5 billion Energy-Water fiscal 2017 appropriations bill by Monday or Tuesday, Energy-Water Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Thursday.  

Lawmakers had submitted more than 60 amendments to the bill by a deadline that Alexander had set for 1 p.m. A vote has been scheduled for just one of those on Monday afternoon, but Alexander said all “germane amendments” will get a vote by Tuesday.