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Water Testing in Every School

Friday, September 15, 2017

Our school system is committed to protecting student, teacher, and staff health. To protect our community and be in compliance with the Department of Education regulations, the Montclair Board of Education tested our schools’ drinking water for lead.

In accordance with the Department of Education regulations, the Montclair Board of Education has implemented immediate remedial measures for any drinking water outlet with a result greater than the action level of 15 µg/l (parts per billion [ppb]). If it was determined that the location must remain on for non-drinking purposes, in these cases a “DO NOT DRINK – SAFE FOR HANDWASHING ONLY” sign was posted.

Results of our Testing

Following guidance developed by the EPA, we completed a plumbing profile for each of the buildings within the Montclair Board of Education. Through this effort, we identified and tested all drinking water, nurses’ offices and food preparation outlets in all of our schools. The samples taken for your facility tested below the lead action level established by the US Environmental Protection Agency for lead in drinking water (15 µg/l [ppb]). However, the Montclair Board of Education followed a more stringent policy and protocol.

How Lead Enters our Water

Lead is unusual among drinking water contaminants in that it seldom occurs naturally in water supplies like groundwater, rivers and lakes. Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in the water distribution system and in building plumbing. These materials include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass, and chrome-plated brass faucets. In 1986, Congress banned the use of lead solder containing greater than 0.2% lead, and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes and other plumbing materials. However, even the lead in plumbing materials meeting these new requirements is subject to corrosion. When water stands in lead pipes or plumbing systems containing lead for several hours or more, the lead may dissolve into the drinking water. This means the first water drawn from the tap in the morning may contain fairly high levels of lead.

Lead in Drinking Water

Lead in drinking water, although rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning can significantly increase a person’s total lead exposure, particularly the exposure of children under the age of 6. EPA estimates that drinking water can make up 20% or more of a person’s total exposure to lead.

For More Information

The full spreadsheet showing the latest figures for every drinking fountain in every school and the district office has now been published.  NOTE:  If you need assistance in reading this spreadsheet (a PDF) or for more general information about water quality in our schools, contact Leonard Saponara at 973-509-4044.

For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s website, call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD, or contact your health care provider.

If you are concerned about lead exposure at this facility or in your home, you may want to ask your health care providers about testing children to determine levels of lead in their blood.

Updated: 9/25/2017