New testing for lead in city school water pipes has resulted in more elevated results across the Bronx and citywide, but NYC Department of Education officials say there is no cause for concern.
Elevated samples were detected in 1,278 out of the 1,544 DOE schools operated buildings citywide.
In the Bronx, at least one elevated sample was found at 251 of the department’s 332 schools.
The DOE cautioned that the number of drinking fixtures with elevated results over 15 ppb (parts per billion) accounted for just 1.5 percent of all fixtures that were tested.
All cooking and drinking water fixtures with results over 15 ppb were immediately taken offline and are only placed back online once they have been remediated and results from updated tests are below 15ppb, according to the department.
Fixtures with elevated results are replaced, as are piping to the walls.
Schools with elevated results are also placed on a weekly morning flushing protocol.
Under the old system, pipes were flushed before testing occurred.
The new samples were obtained after the pipes were allowed to sit overnight, which is when lead from pipes seeps into the water supply.
The school with the highest number of elevated samples in the Bronx was P.S. 234 at 2050 Prospect Avenue, with 46 elevated samples.
The other top ten schools are P.S. 12 (27); I.S./H.S. 362 (26); P.S. 195 (26); I.S. 123 (26); P.S. 15 (25); I.S. 174 (25); X 450 /Adlai Stevenson Educational Campus (25); I.S. 98 (24); P.S. 306 (24) and P.S. 152 (23).
Testing at Lehman High School found 17 elevated samples, while 13 were found at the Bronx High School of Science.
Seven elevated samples each were found at the Dewitt Clinton, Christopher Columbus and James Monroe high school campuses.
The P.S. 83 Annex in Morris Park had 19 elevated samples, while P.S. 83 itself had five.
One elevated sample was also discovered at P.S. 41, which recently underwent remediation after lead was detected in samples in January.
“Families should rest assured that water in schools is safe for students and staff to drink,” said DOE deputy chancellor Elizabeth Rose in a statement.
“As our citywide test results confirm, the number of elevations are minimal and we take immediate action to remediate all fixtures with results above 15ppb. We have shared detailed information with schools and families, and will continue to keep communities updated,” she added.
“The DOE’s findings are cause for concern,” said Councilman Ritchie Torres. “We already know from the EPA’s standards that the level of lead recently found in too many of the city’s public schools threatens the health and well-being of thousands of children drinking from tainted taps everyday. The city needs to immediately address any public health hazards facing children in schools with elevated lead levels.”
When asked about the issue, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj said budget allocations would address aging water systems to eliminate issues like lead in city pipes.
“New Yorkers should never have to worry about the water coming out of our faucets and drinking fountains,” Gjonaj said. “This year’s budget includes $200 million for drinking and wastewater infrastructure improvements in New York City’s watershed. Clean water is absolutely essential to our health and safety.”
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