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GCSD proactively conducted water testing over summer 2016; testing to continue in accordance with new legislation

Sept. 14, 2016—With all of the recent media reports about lead contamination in drinking water, over the summer the district decided to be proactive and voluntarily conduct water testing.

At that time, a total of 19 water samples were tested from areas in each school building, with the exception of Pine Bush Elementary (due to the more recent construction date of that building), that were most likely to be used as a drinking or cooking source, including drinking fountains and kitchen sinks. All of the samples that were tested in that first phase revealed lead levels below 15 parts per billion (ppb), indicating that the water was safe for consumption. (Water samples that contain under 20 ppb are safe for consumption, according to guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.)

Out of the total water samples tested district wide so far, a kitchen sink in Lynnwood Elementary School came back with the highest levels of 12 ppb, still below the more stringent 15 ppb acceptable drinking water standard for New York State Schools. Out of all the other samples, the majority was close to zero.

As a precaution, the district decided to re-pipe all of the kitchen sinks with any measurable results to eliminate any potential source of lead contamination. After re-piping, the water was tested again. The results indicated that the replacement was successful.  VIEW THE RESULTS HERE (PDF).

On Sept. 6, Governor Cuomo signed legislation mandating that all public schools across the state test drinking water for lead contamination. Pursuant to that legislation, the New York State Department of Health immediately issued emergency regulations for schools to follow. The legislation and regulations specify sampling and testing requirements, a timeline for collecting samples, a contamination action threshold, required remediation efforts, public and agency notification, record keeping, enforcement and cost assistance.

A second phase of testing will be taking place in accordance with the recent legislation’s timeline. For any school serving children in any of the levels from pre-kindergarten through grade 5, the collection of samples is to be completed by Sept. 30, 2016. For any school serving children in any of the levels from grades 6 through 12, that are not also serving students in any of the levels pre-kindergarten through grade 5, and all other applicable buildings, collection of samples is to be completed by Oct. 31, 2016.

The health and safety of students and staff is a top priority for the Guilderland Central School District. We will continue to keep our community informed of the results of the additional water testing required under the new law.