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District conducting water quality tests in schools

| September 20, 2016

A letter from Superintendent D. Joseph Corr:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that on Monday, September 19, the district received preliminary results of water quality testing that is currently being performed in all of our schools in accordance with legislation signed by Governor Cuomo on September 6. The new law requires all New York State public schools to test all sources of potable water for lead contamination. The State Department of Health and State Education Department have established an action level threshold of 15 parts per billion. Water sources that test higher must be immediately taken out of service and corrective action must be taken.

It is important to note that the North Colonie Central School District has followed its own water testing protocols initiated a decade ago, long before the state enacted legislation, to ensure the quality of drinking water in our schools. Since then, district staff has conducted random sampling of drinking water sources at all sites in the district and those samples have been tested at Bender Labs, a state-certified testing laboratory in Albany. During the last 10 years, the results have consistently shown that drinking water sources at each of our schools have tested below the actionable level set by the state.

Results of the mandatory water testing at Latham Ridge Elementary School are the first to be received by district officials. All potable water sources at Latham Ridge were tested last week, including drinking fountains and sink faucets in classrooms, restrooms and the cafeteria. Of the 97 samples drawn at the school, four tested above the allowable .015 mgl as per the new regulations. Those four faucets, identified below, are used for hand washing and cleaning purposes only; none of the four are designated for drinking, as each elementary classroom is equipped with a fountain bubbler that provides drinking water for students.

  • Cafeteria hand-washing sink, 30 parts per billion
  • Nurse’s office bathroom sink, 16 parts per billion
  • Library sink, 19 parts per billion
  • Room 7 hand-washing sink, 17 parts per billion

The district immediately shut off water to the affected sources until a second round of testing can be conducted and next steps can be determined. If the results continue to show actionable levels of lead, the district will work to replace or remediate the affected water pipes and fixtures. As a follow-up, additional water tests will be conducted to determine if the replacement/remediation was successful before placing the faucets back in service.

Please be assured that we will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the quality of drinking water throughout our district meets the state regulations. We will keep you informed as we continue to receive the results of the ongoing water testing at our schools.

Please call me at (518) 785-8591, if you have any questions.

D. Joseph Corr

Resources for parents

New York State Department of Health Regulations for new water testing law

New York State Department of Health: Information for Child Care Providers and Schools

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Basic Information About Lead in Drinking Water

Governor Cuomo signs Landmark Legislation to Test Drinking Water in New York Schools for Lead Contamination, Press Release

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