Notification of water testing results
In September 2016, a state law went into effect that requires all public school districts to test water for lead. The law requires school districts to sample all water outlets currently or potentially used for drinking or cooking purposes in buildings that may be occupied by students and to submit those samples to a state-approved lab for analysis.
The state established an action level of 15 micrograms of lead per liter, typically referred to as ‘parts per billion (ppb).’ To put this number into perspective, the NYS Department of Health uses the 15 ppb action level to promote remediation of a water outlet rather than to identify a health-based or exposure level. The new state process for lead testing in public schools is also stricter than the municipal standard.
If a sample from a water outlet exceeds this level, schools must take steps to prevent the use of the outlet for drinking or cooking purposes until it is remediated and follow-up testing confirms it is no longer above the action level. School districts are required to report the 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—along with remediation plans, if required—on the official district website.
Unadilla Valley Central School District notified all staff and parents/guardians of the new water testing requirement and sampled all outlets in both school buildings in October.
The district’s results were received on Dec. 12 and steps toward remediation were immediately taken. The district sampled 284 outlets, and four were found to exceed the new state standard of 15 ppb. One additional outlet tested at the 15 ppb limit. All outlets that tested at or higher than the state mandated level will be remediated and re-tested prior to being put back into service.
The following outlets are affected:
- Boys Locker Room Sink Faucet, 23 ppb: Signage has been placed indicating water is for hand washing only. Fixture will be replaced and retested by Feb. 1, 2017.
- Concession Stand Sink Faucet, 16 ppb: Signage has been placed indicating water is for hand washing only. Fixture will be replaced and retested by Feb. 1, 2017.
- Dressing Room Sink Faucet, 40 ppb: Faucet has been taken off-line and will be replaced and retested by Feb. 1, 2017.
- Classroom Hand Sink, 18 ppb: Signage has been placed indicating water is for hand washing only. Fixture will be replaced and retested by Feb. 1, 2017
- Classroom Drinking Fountain, 15 ppb: Fountain has been taken off line and will be replaced and retested by Feb. 1, 2017. Steps have been taken to ensure students in this classroom have access to drinking water.
The District is working on a complete remediation plan, which will be posted on this webpage. Any additional information regarding water testing will also be posted on this page.
According to the state Department of Health, lead is a common metal found in the environment, but it is also a toxic material that can be harmful if ingested or inhaled. Although the primary source of lead exposure for most children is lead-based paint, exposure can also come from drinking water as a result of the lead content of plumbing materials and source water.
Because Unadilla Valley has a newer school building, has its own water supply that is regularly tested for contaminants and had fewer than 2 percent of all outlets tested above the new state standard, the source of the lead is most likely due to outlet components on the district’s plumbing lines.
If you have any questions about lead exposure or testing for lead exposure, please contact your family physician or the Unadilla Valley’s School Based Health Center at 847-6050. If you have any questions about the test results and the remediation efforts, please contact Head Maintenance Mechanic Bill Beadle 847-7500, ext. 1134.