In the Spring of 2016, there had been considerable coverage in the news regarding water testing in schools, particularly in terms of lead being found in drinking water. While there were no New York State requirements for the testing of water in schools at the time, and there were no indications that the water in PRSD schools and buildings was unsafe, the District took this safety issue very seriously.
We preemptively partnered with Adelaide Environmental Health Associates, Inc., experts in the field of water quality testing, to conduct lead testing of the water in each of our buildings. The finding indicated that all drinking fountains, in all facilities, were safe according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Of all the sinks tested at all buildings, three were found to have levels of lead that called for additional testing or a remedy such as replacement or removal. These issues were addressed immediately.
On September 6, 2016, new state legislation was enacted that required school districts to conduct tests for the presence of lead in all water sources that could be used for drinking. The new legislation called for a testing regimen that went above and beyond what we had independently and voluntarily completed in late June of 2016. The new legislation also contained more stringent requirements that reduced acceptable levels of lead in terms of parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water. With the assistance of Rockland County BOCES, and the professional service of Adelaide Environmental Health Associates, Inc., the District undertook and completed the new round of testing of all water sources that were identified as potable.
Science lab sinks were included in the testing even though they are designated as non-potable water sources. The elevated levels found in the science labs may be due to their low frequency of use. These sinks have signs labeling them as non-potable water sources.
3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)