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Clarkstown Will Use Summer To Identify Source Of Lead

Clarkstown Central School District offices.
Clarkstown Central School District offices. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW CITY, N.Y. - The source of lead contamination in water is still unclear in Clarkstown schools despite action taken by officials to identify and shut off the problem sinks and fountains. 

A presentation, given by Assistant Superintendent of Business John LaNave, at the June 2 Board of Education meeting confirmed that all fountains and sinks throughout the district with elevated levels of lead in water were shut off. However, the source of the lead contamination is still unknown. 

A team consisting of district officials, the county Department of Health, Adelaide Environmental, BOCES Health and Safety, and the state Department of Education will take the summer to identify the contamination source, LaNave said during the presentation.

"We're going to use the summer to go through the process of mitigating those locations. And some of them might be as simple as replacing a particular fixture at the water fountain or at the sink. And some of them may be a little bit more involved with the piping," LaNave said.

Indications from the "first draw" tests-the water first to come out of a sink or faucet-on high priority use points suggested that the area closest to the faucet is where the problem is occurring, LaNave said. 

From 1,243 water samples taken, 16 drinking fountains and 81 sinks were identified to have lead levels in excess of 20 parts per billion-the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended action level for lead in drinking water. These outlets were shut off and will remain so through the end of the school year.

While there is a recommended action level for lead in drinking water, there are no federal or state requirements requiring testing in schools.

Felix Festa Middle School, which has the most faucets of any school in the district, also had the most faucets with elevated lead levels with 32 out 143, according to the presentation.

The team that will investigate the issue over the summer was unveiled at the end of the meeting and were made available to answer questions from the public.

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