Ongoing Water Testing October 18, 2016

Lead in school drinking water was brought to the forefront last year. West Genesee was proactive, as shown below in the following March 21, 2016 Notes from the Superintendent Excerpt:

Water Quality in Schools: About six months ago you might have read about water quality issues in Flint, Michigan. Government officials allegedly knew that water quality was suspect but covered it up until the situation was finally exposed. Closer to home, a community near Ithaca was having water issues which prompted the school to test their water and they found that the water contained more lead than recommended. Similar findings have occurred in a community in New Jersey, and one more in a Rochester suburb.

United States Senator Chuck Schumer recently declared the public water supply a top priority and is making grant monies available (water testing is very expensive) for schools to test their water for lead (water testing has not been required and remains not required). While we do not foresee issues with our water, we have decided to participate in the grant and test our faucets and drinking fountains.

The testing will begin the week of April 5 and will be conducted by the OCM BOCES Health and Safety Department. If we find any high levels of lead from any faucet or drinking fountain we will let you know. The remedy is to replace the pipe or connector that may be causing the sample to test positive. The Onondaga County Water Authority tests the water constantly and our area of Syracuse is not known for lead pipes, but we are taking the better safe than sorry approach.

Between April 5, 2016 and April 21, 2016 we conducted 118 representative water tests throughout our buildings, with a high focus on hallway fountains, cafeteria sinks and classroom fountains.  Each location was put through two types of testing.  The first test is an immediate draw test; completed immediately when you turn the faucet on.  The second test is completed after allowing the faucet to run for 30 seconds, then taking a sample. We were very happy that the result of all these tests fell below the EPA Guidelines, which was 20 PPB (Parts Per Billion) at that time. If you have a test that is above 20 PPB it is considered “action level” for school drinking water and requires mediation.  The following shows the tests that were completed:

East Hill – BLD (Below Detection Level) to 3.7 PPB (Parts Per Billion)
Main Lobby Kitchen Classroom Nurse’s Office Staff Lounge

Onondaga Road – BLD (Below Detection Level) to 2.4 PPB (Parts Per Billion)
Main Lobby Kitchen Classroom Nurse’s Office Staff Lounge

Stonehedge – BLD (Below Detection Level) to 9.5 PPB (Parts Per Billion)
Boys Locker Room
Girls Locker Room
Six (6) Classrooms
Red Gymnasium
Nurse’s Office
Blue Kitchen
Gold kitchen

Split Rock – BLD (Below Detection Level) to 9.1* PPB (Parts Per Billion)
Gymnasium Hall Kitchen

Three (3) Classrooms* Cafeteria

  • One classroom initially tested at 19.0 PPB. Although this was below the EPA guidelines, at that time, we remediated that classroom and are happy to note that that classroom tested as follows;

o    First Draw – 4.7 PPB

o    30 second Draw – Less than 1.0 PPB

Camillus Middle – BLD (Below Detection Level) to 6.3 PPB (Parts Per Billion)
Cafeteria Kitchen
Locker Room Hallway Staff Lounge
Second Floor hallway Main Office
Hallway by Nurse’s Office Nurse’s Office

West Genesee Middle – BLD (Below Detection Level) to 11.0 PPB (Parts Per Billion)
First Floor Hallway Second Floor hallway Third Floor Hallway Main Office
Nurse’s Office Staff Lounge Custodial Office

West Genesee HS – BLD (Below Detection Level) to 8.5 PPB (Parts Per Billion)
Trainer’s Office Lower Gymnasium
Lower Gymnasium Lobby Kitchen
Nurse’s Office Guidance Office Main Office Classroom A130 Auditorium Lobby
Music Wing Staff Room Hallway Near Room 237 Hallway Near Room 249 B2 Hallway
Hallway Across from E105 Custodial Office

While the results of these tests certainly are encouraging, we are in the process of completing full testing of all of our buildings in accordance with the following new guidelines:

Effective September 6, 2016, the Commissioner of Health by Public Health Law sections 1370-a and 1110, Subpart 67-4 of Title 10 (Health) of the Official Compliance of Codes, rules and Regulations of the State of New York‐09‐06_lead_testing_in_school_drinking_water.pdf

These new guidelines have lowered the “action level” to 15 PPB for lead in school drinking water. Please be reassured that all of the previous test were not only below the old standard of 20 PPB, but are all BELOW the new standard of 15 PPB.

As of October 18, 2016, we have completed over 400 tests in all of our elementary schools combined. We anticipate over 510 additional tests being done in the middle schools and high school before the end of this month. These new guidelines require the first draw test only. This is very restrictive as the first draw tests in every previous test produced higher PPB counts or the same PPB count. This is logical, as the faucets have no opportunity to flush themselves.

The costs of this testing is $20 per test. During our initial voluntary testing last spring we spent nearly $2,400.  We will spend approximately an additional $18,200 during the complete phase two testing. Costs on top of this would be any required remediation if a test was to be higher than 15 PPB.