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Monticello tests drinking water for lead following new state standard

Oct. 20, 2016

In September 2016, a state law went into effect that requires all public school districts to test water for lead. The law requires school districts to sample all water outlets currently or potentially used for drinking or cooking purposes in buildings that may be occupied by students and to submit those samples to a state approved lab for analysis.

The state established an action level of 15 micrograms of lead per liter, typically referred to as “parts per billion (ppb).” If a sample from a water outlet exceeds this level, schools must take steps to prevent the use of the outlet for drinking or cooking purposes until it is remediated and follow-up testing confirms it is no longer above the action level.

School districts are required to report the results of all water testing to the state Department of Health, the state Education Department and the local health department, and to post the results on the official district website. All sources of water, whether they are used for drinking or not, are being tested throughout the district.

Our results as of Oct. 20 to date are below. Please note that additional results are pending. We will share the information regarding those tests as the results become available on the district’s website,

• George L. Cooke Elementary School: 11 sink samples tested at 15 ppb or above
• Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary School: 18 sink samples tested at 15 ppb or above
• Emma C. Chase Elementary School: 0 samples tested at 15 ppb or above
• St. John Street Education Center: 2 fountain samples tested at 15 pbb or above
• Robert J. Kaiser Middle School: 0 samples tested at 15 ppb or above
• Monticello High School: 1 sink sample tested at 15 ppb or above
   The tap from initial testing was remediated and retested with results being under the 15 ppb level.
• Duggan Elementary School 2 fountain samples tested at 15 pbb or above

Although the sinks at Cooke and Rutherford Elementary Schools are still considered usable for hand-washing, out of an abundance of caution, the district’s facilities team immediately took all affected fixtures out of service. Additionally, the fountains at St. John’s and Duggan Elementary were turned off. The district will collaborate with engineers and environmental specialists to determine next steps, which could include the replacement of water pipes and fixtures.

Additional testing will be conducted in an effort to pinpoint the specific source of the lead in each of the effected locations and the district’s facilities team will replace all plumbing components that may be contributing to the fixtures’ elevated lead levels.

We are committed to the safety of our students and take these findings very seriously. We are working with the safety and risk management office at Sullivan County BOCES to ensure that we can continue to provide safe, healthy drinking water for our students and staff. We will continue to update families about the status of our remediation efforts as information becomes available.
For more information about lead in drinking water, please contact your family physician or go to the EPA’s website.