Concern for Lead Levels in New Rochelle Elementary School Water

Unacceptable levels of lead were found in the water at the George Davis Elementary School in New Rochelle, New York. After the recent lead-in-the-water issues in Newark, New Jersey and Flint, Michigan, Louis Berger, from a New Jersey-based company, was brought in to test the elementary school’s water on March 23 and March 29, reports lohud/USA Today Network.

“We ordered tests right away just to be proactive because the issue was on our radar screen. We’ve also shared the results proactively with the county commissioner of health so that they can take a look to see if there’s any cause for concern there,” said Superintendent Brian Osborne.

After random sampling of water spigots in 11 school buildings, one sample at the Davis school exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “action level,” a point where corrective measures need to be taken. Berger recommended additional testing, and on April 29, 36 water fountains were tested. Of those 36 tested, 8 were initially found to have elevated lead levels. After running the water for 30 seconds, of the 8, only 2 were found to have elevated levels.

The EPA action level for lead is 15 parts per billion (ppb). On the second round of tests, one classroom sink that was noted had 25.3 ppb and the second one had 59.4 ppb, according to the report.

Berger suggested establishing a plumbing profile for the district with periodic testing for lead, and testing water sources with brass pipes, fittings, faucets, and valves. Berger also advised replacing old ceramic-type drinking fountains “known to have a lead-lined basin” and to clean all faucet aerators. The county Department of Health along with Berger plan to oversee further testing and inspection early next week.

The school district has placed 34 filters on the sinks and is researching other options. In the interim, there are 5-gallon bottled water coolers lined up in the hallway of the elementary school’s east wing.

New York Senator Charles Schumer announced the legislature would establish a $20 million federal grant program that public schools nationwide could access to cover the costs of lead level testing, reports lohud/USA Today Network.

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