JERSEY CITY – the Jersey City Public School District announced Monday that it has completed Phase I of an ongoing lead remediation plan, following a study that found that dozens of water fountains and sinks throughout the district had lead levels that exceed federal standards.
According to a release issued by the school district on April 22, “All 233 pre-kindergarten water outlets have been identified and were tested by March 29, 2013. Of those tested, 10 had elevated levels. Those sites have been taken out of service and water coolers have been dispatched to those locations.”
The 10 water locations that have been taken out of service, according to the district, include: two sinks in Room 104 in PS 16; a sink in Room 105 at PS 16; a sink in Room 118 at PS 22; a water fountain in Room 118 at PS 22; a sink in Room 122 at PS 22; Trailer No. 7 at PS 23; Trailer 501 at PS 28; the trailer kitchen sink at PS 30; and a sink in Room 101 at PS 39.
An analysis of 978 school sinks and fountains that was conducted by Aqua Pro-Tech Labs on behalf of the district concluded that, between October 2012 and January 2013, 140 had lead contamination that exceeded Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
Elevated lead levels in school sinks and water fountains has been a problem throughout the district ever since 2006, according to education activist Ellen Simon, co-founder of Parents for Progress. In the March Parents for Progress newsletter Simon noted that district schools have been dealing with the problem of elevated lead levels since 2006. The last time any schools were tested for lead, Simon added, was in 2010 when the district tested 159 fountains and sinks. At that time, 108 exceeded EPA standards for lead.
In the most recent study, 140 water outlets had elevated lead levels that exceeded EPA standards.
According to district spokeswoman Paula Christen, the district is remediating affected water fountains and sinks by having new pipes, fixtures, and filtration systems installed, where necessary. To assist with this remediation, the school district has hired a tectonic environmental engineer.