A letter from Superintendent Dr. Lori Caplan
Oct. 26, 2016
As you may be aware, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation in September that requires public schools in New York to test all water outlets currently or potentially used for drinking or cooking purposes for lead levels.
In accordance with the law, the district has conducted water testing at both Watervliet Elementary School and Watervliet Jr./Sr. High School with the assistance of a state-approved laboratory. Last month, the district notified parents in writing about water quality testing that was performed in August before the new regulations had been established by the state. At that time, test results showed elevated lead levels in some samplings. The identified faucets were deactivated until further testing following state protocols could be completed.
The district has received the results of the most recent testing for WES, which show that of the 105 samples drawn, the majority of outlets tested below the actionable level. Three of the water sources, however, tested above the allowable 15 parts per billion, as per the new regulations:
• Room 131 drinking fountain, 47 ppb
• Room 114 hand-washing sink, 17.7 ppb
• Room 218 hand-washing sink, 147 ppb
The district immediately shut off water to the three affected outlets, and each has been marked “out of service, do not use.” The outlets in room 131 and room 114 were not in regular use and will be deactivated permanently. Additional testing will be performed on the sink in room 218 to identify what corrective action is needed, and a follow-up test will be conducted before that faucet can be placed back in service.
In the meantime, we expect to receive the lab results for water at Watervliet Jr./Sr. High School within the next three weeks, and will make the results available to parents and staff at that time. We will notify you of any further testing and additional actions regarding water testing or remediation that may be necessary as we move forward.
If you have questions or concerns about the test results, please contact the district office at (518) 629-3201.
Dr. Lori Caplan
Superintendent of Schools
For more information on New York’s new water testing law, view or download this fact sheet.
For more information about lead levels and drinking water, visit the EPA’s website.
Lead-free, as defined by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, is based on the lead content of plumbing materials. Federal laws enacted in 1986, and updated in 2011, limit the amount of lead that can be used in new plumbing and fixtures. A building can be deemed lead-free if it was built after Jan. 4, 2014, or a New York State licensed Professional Engineer or Architect certifies it to be lead-free. Under New York's new law, school districts are not required to conduct water testing in buildings designated as lead-free. Watervliet City School District has no buildings designated as lead-free, as defined by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.