BOSTON (CBS) — In an effort to ensure safe drinking water in schools, state officials approved a $2 million initiative from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust to test water in schools for lead.

“We know that lead and copper as you heard are issues for the health and well-being of our kids and we are thrilled to provide these funds for the towns and cities in the commonwealth,” Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said.

There are 38 schools that have active water fountains in Boston. Unsafe level of lead were found in drinking fountains in four of them; most recent being Boston Latin Academy and Richard J Murphy K-8 School in Dorchester.

In the schools that tested positive for lead, the fountains were immediately shut down. Mass DEP says the funds will be used to help school districts sample sinks and water fountains in their schools and identify any results that show lead contamination above the action level.

“My message to the parents: take this very seriously and we are now able to provide to test the waters throughout the entire state,” Goldberg said.

State officials hope to have all the testing done by the end of the school year. The four Boston schools that had lead exposure are now offering bottled water to students.

“We are making sure we have a history of the building and history of the plumbing and really focusing on the schools that need this type of evaluation,” Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Martin Suuberg said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

Paul Burton

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