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Six More New Rochelle Schools Test Positive for Elevated Levels of Lead

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Six More New Rochelle Schools Test Positive for Elevated Levels of Lead

September 02, 2016 - 15:21
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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Tests of six elementary schools in New Rochelle conducted by Louis Berger Group, a global engineering firm, show elevated levels in some water sources in the schools. As a result, the water has been turned off at each location within the school and bottled water will be provided to students until new water-filling stations can be installed.

"We expect to have the new water stations installed at every school as quickly as possible," said Assistant Superintendent for Business & Administration Jeff White. "Certainly before the end of the current school year."

This is different than what was done at Davis Elementary  School where all water was turned off. The decision to turn off select locations at the six schools tested in June is based on a recommendation by the Westchester County Department of Health.

Schools tested last June are Henry Barnard, Daniel Webster, William B. Ward, Trinity, Columbus, and Jefferson. A total of 206 drinking water locations were tested throughout the six schools. The testing on Davis Elementary School was reported this past Spring.

“The voluntary testing was not required by law but the district wanted to take definitive steps to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and teachers,” said Brian Osborne, superintendent of schools.

In identifying problem water outlets, Louis Berger and the district chose to use the more stringent action level standard of 15 ppb that applies to water utilities/providers rather than the 20 ppb trigger established by the EPA. Nineteen of the initial draw samples exceeded the 15 ppb threshold and eight of the follow-up samples exceeded the action level. The results were reviewed by the county Department of Health. Both initial draw and 30-second flush samples were collected. An initial draw is a water sample taken immediately from a water source. A 30-second flush is a water sample taken after a water source runs for 30 seconds.

The highest sample was 570 ppb from Science Room 214 at Daniel Webster Elementary School. Next, a drinking fountain at Room 2A at Jefferson Elementary School was 484 ppb then 41.6 ppb on the second sample. And next, a drinking fountain between Rooms 2 and 4 at Columbus Elementary School tested at 336 ppb and was still high on the second test.

Other high samples include two at Henry Barnard Early Childhood Center and two at William B. Ward Elementary School. At Barnard, a drinking fountain at Room 108 had a lead level of 40.2 ppb on the first test but actually went up to 115 ppb on second test and a drinking fountain at Room 212 had a lead level of 238 ppb on the first test and was still elevated at 25.1 ppb on the second test. At Ward, a drinking fountain at Room 131 had a lead level of 111 ppb and a drinking fountain at Room 105 had a lead level of 236 ppb on the first sample then 27.0 ppb on second sample.

The City School District of New Rochelle initated voluntarily water testing in March 2016 in the wake of lead issues in Newark, NJ and Flint, MI. There is a no legal requirement to undertake testing. Initial samples taken by Louis Berger in March 2016, three water outlets per school, indicated levels of lead at Davis Elementary School. The water was shut off and bottled water provided to students and staff. At the recommendation of the District-Wide Health & Safety Committee, the District began testing all water outlets in all schools starting with Davis School. Tests at Davis were completed in April. All other elementary schools were tested in June. The next round of testing will be conducted in the fall at Isaac E. Young Middle School, Albert Leonard Middle School, and New Rochelle High School.

A letter from Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne (linked above) advised the school community that "following the advice of our advisors, the District has shut off affected water sources and bottled water and/or water coolers are being provided to students and staff."

The following water sources have been turned off at the following locations:

Columbus Elementary School (tested on June 8, 2016, 1 location exceeded EPA limit of 20 ppb)

  • Drinking Fountain – between Rms. 2/4 (Lead Level was 336 ppb then 42.3 ppb on second test)

Daniel Webster Elementary School (tested on June 8, 2016, 5 locations exceeded EPA limit of 20 ppb)

  • Sink – Room 102 (Lead Level was 20.6 ppb)
  • Drinking Fountain – Hallway outside Room 208 (Lead Level was 34.9 ppb)
  • Sink (2nd on R side) – Science Room 214 (Lead Level was 570 ppb)
  • Sink (back wall) – Science Room 214 (Lead Level was 29.7 ppb)
  • Sink – Room 220 (Lead Level was 31.2 ppb) 

Henry Barnard Early Childhood Center (tested on June 1, 2016, 6 locations exceeded EPA limit of 20 ppb)

  • Drinking Fountain – Room 3 (Lead Level was 25.0 ppb)
  • Drinking Fountain – Room 6 (Lead Level was 21.8 ppb)
  • Drinking Fountain – Room 107 (Lead Level was 23.6 ppb)
  • Drinking Fountain – Room 108 (Lead Level was 40.2 ppb then 115 ppb on second test)
  • Drinking Fountain – Room 211 (Lead Level was 29.6 ppb)
  • Drinking Fountain – Room 212 (Lead Level was 238 ppb then 25.1 ppb on second test)

Jefferson Elementary School  (tested on June 1, 2016, 2 locations exceeded EPA limit of 20 ppb)

  • Sink – Room 2A (Lead Level was 16.3 ppb)
  • Drinking Fountain – Room 2A (Lead Level was 484 ppb then 41.6 ppb on second test)

Trinity Elementary School (tested on June 15, 2016, 2 locations exceeded EPA limit of 20 ppb)

  • Drinking Fountain (L) – Hallway outside Auditorium (Lead Level was 65.3 ppb)
  • Sink – Room 1 (Lead Level was 28.0 ppb)

William B. Ward Elementary School  (tested on June 2, 2016, 5 locations exceeded EPA limit of 20 ppb)

  • Drinking Fountain – Room 131 (Lead Level was 111 ppb)
  • Drinking Fountain – Room 105 (Lead Level was 236 ppb then 27.0 ppb on second test)
  • Drinking Fountain – Room 118 (Lead Level was 18.1 ppb)
  • Drinking Fountain – Room 10 (Lead Level was 29.0 ppb)
  • Drinking Fountain – Room 16 (Lead Level was 20.6 ppb)

Only the first-draw is reported above when the second-draw is below 20 ppb.

For further information visit the Health and Safety Portal at http://www.nred.org/RESCUE

EDITOR'S NOTE: Robert Cox is a member of the New Rochelle School District Health and Safety Committee (RESCUE Committee)