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District conducts required testing of water for lead levels

Background information

On Sept. 6, 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law that requires public schools in New York to test for lead levels all water sources currently or potentially used for drinking or cooking purposes. The new law makes New York the first state in the nation to require all of its public schools to conduct lead testing on all sources of potable water.

Schools are required to submit to a lab samples of water drawn from every source (faucet, fountain, spigot, etc.) in their buildings that could be used for drinking and cooking. The state established an action level of 15 micrograms of lead per liter, typically referred to as parts per billion (ppb).

If the lead level from a water source exceeds the action level, schools must take steps to prevent the use of the source for drinking or cooking purposes until it is  remediated and follow-up testing confirms it is no longer above the action level.

Water testing in Schoharie Central School District

Schoharie Central School District receives its water from the Village of Schoharie, a public water supply. A partial sampling of water sources tested at SCS buildings this past spring found those sources to be under the action levels for lead. However, last spring the district did not draw from every single source of water used for drinking or cooking in its buildings as required by the new law.

The required testing has been completed, as well as testing of other sources: Schoharie Central School District tested not only water sources used for drinking and cooking, but samples from all of the water sources in its buildings.

In September, samples of water from those nearly 300 sources were sent to an independent, state-approved lab in accordance with the new state law. Per regulations, all samples were "first draw," which means there had been no water flow for at least eight hours.

The district received partial lab results during the first part of October. Of 79 results returned to the district, two sources showed lead levels above the state-required action level. Those samples were taken from rarely used drinking fountain fixtures attached to sinks in two classrooms.

Water samples drawn from the faucets that share the same water line as the fountain fixtures were found to be below action levels for lead, indicating that the problem was likely due to the fountain fixture hardware and not the water supply. The fountain fixtures were immediately taken out of service, have been replaced and were retested. While the district awaits the retest results, the fixtures remain out of service and bottled water continues to be supplied in those classrooms.

As of October 26, the district had received the balance of the lab results of its water source tests. The results show that all water samples from Schoharie Jr./Sr. High School sources that are used for drinking or cooking have tested below the state-required action level (acceptable limit) of 15 ppb.

Water samples drawn from four outside spigots and a sink in the instructional technology office – sources that are not used for drinking or cooking - were found to be above the state-required action level of 15 ppb. While those sources are not used for drinking or cooking, and the district was not required to test them, they were tested along with all sources in the buildings. Those sources have been taken out of service, and the district will address ways to remediate them.

Questions?

For questions or concerns, please contact Superintendent David Blanchard at dblanchard@schoharie.k12.ny.us or (518) 295-6679.

Information resources

Fact Sheet: New state law means public schools will test for lead (PDF)

Basic information about lead in drinking water (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

Full reports

School districts are required to report the full results of all water testing to the state Department of Health, the State Education Department and the local health department, and to post the results on their website. Schoharie's full lab reports may be downloaded below (in PDF format).

Reports received as of 10/17/16:

Results report 10364802

Results report 10364803

Results report 10364808

Reports received as of 10/26/16:

Results report 10364793

Results report 10364799

Results report 10364805

Results report 10364806

Results report 10365408

 


[10/17/16; updated 10/26/16]

 

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This page is maintained by Schoharie Central School District and the Capital Region BOCES Communications Service according to the web publishing guidelines of Schoharie Central School District. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. PDF documents on this website can be viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from Adobe for free. Paper copies of downloadable documents may be requested by calling 518 295-6679.

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