Water Testing Message from the Superintendent
Monday, September 18, 2017
Dear Montclair High School Community,
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, 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 provided 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 and food preparation outlets. Of the 92 samples taken, all but 12 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.
The tables attached identify the drinking water outlet that tested above the 15 µg/l for lead, the actual lead level, and what action the Montclair Board of Education has taken to reduce the levels of lead at this location.
The Montclair Board of Education at this time has determined to keep this fixture out of service. The school has other drinking outlets there were tested and the results of which were either <2 ug/L, <3 ppb, none detected or below detectable levels (BDL) and are safe to drink out of.
Health Effects of Lead
High levels of lead in drinking water can cause health problems. Lead is most dangerous for pregnant women, infants, and children under 6 years of age. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. Exposure to high levels of lead during pregnancy contributes to low birth weight and developmental delays in infants. In young children, lead exposure can lower IQ levels, affect hearing, reduce attention span, and hurt school performance. At very high levels, lead can even cause brain damage. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults.
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
A copy of the test results is available on our website. For more 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 the EPA 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.
Superintendent of Schools
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.