2016-2017 LEAD TEST RESULT
Dear Staff, Parents and Community Members,
In anticipation of New York State passing a law that required districts to test lead in drinking/potable water this fall, Cuba-Rushford did 12 water samplings in July 2016 in all three buildings (MSHS, Elementary & Elm Street). All those test results were negative, meaning they tested below the EPA's acceptable level.
Once the law came into effect in September, 2016 we took 118 water samples above and beyond the requirements of the law which excluded science lab sinks and outdoor spigots.
We have received the results for the MSHS, Elm Street Academy & elementary schools.
I am happy to report that all classroom sinks, kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, water fountains, and outdoor spigots tested below the EPA accepted level for lead except for one drinking fountain at the elementary which was removed from service on the date lab results were received (Nov. 16, 2016)
There were six science labs sinks, one drinking fountain and one storage room sink that tested slightly above the EPA accepted levels. In talking to Mr. Shaw, from the Allegany County Health Department, there could be several reasons why, including inactivity for several months at the sink site itself (see first draw below).
- 1st floor middle school wing - Dark Room Photo Lab sink
- 8th grade Science room - lab sink
- 2nd floor science room - Elm Street Academy - lab sink
- Hand washing sink back entrance storage room - Elm Street Academy
- Water fountain in elementary rainbow hallway
- 3rd floor sink - one lab sink - elementary
- 1st floor rainbow hallway - two lab sinks
What is required by law: If the fixture was a lab sink not used for drinking water such as in science labs, then signs must be posted that the water should not be used for drinking. These have been placed.
THOSE EIGHT SINKS HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM OPERATION - The district in conversations with Mr. Shaw from the Health Department recognizes that students could stick their head under those sinks to wash their face or drink water. For that reason, we are choosing the most conservative route. The eight sinks are no longer online for use until they have been remediated, retested, the results meet EPA acceptable levels and Mr. Shaw gives us a thumbs up.
How to read the results? - under the title "Results and Qualifies" there is a number expressed in mg/L. There are eight results that have an asterisk " * " . If they do, they exceed the EPA's acceptable level. Results are in pdf. format below.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Superintendent of Schools
585-968-2650 ext. 4426
These new regulations require all water fixtures on school property that could be used for drinking and cooking to be sampled for lead. The first round of samples is required to be collected in September and October 2016. Future samples must be collected every five years starting in 2020. If samples from fixtures contain lead above a certain level, referred to as the “Action Level,” then we must take measures to reduce lead in those fixtures and resaMple. The action level for lead is set by the NYSDOH at 15 parts per billion (ppb)
Sources of Lead
Lead is a common metal found in the environment. Drinking water is one possible source of lead exposure. The main sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust or soil, and some plumbing materials. In addition, lead can be found in certain types of pottery, pewter, brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics.
Water in contact with copper plumbing with lead soldered joints or brass fixtures can leach lead out of the plumbing. The use of lead solder in plumbing was banned by EPA in 1987 and in 2014 EPA reduced the amount of lead that plumbing fixtures can contain from 8% to less than 1%.
EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of a person’s potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water. Infants who consume mostly formula mixed with lead-containing water can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
Water Sample Results
We sampled drinking water fixtures and sinks for lead and found that all samples exceeded the Action Level of 15 ppb. A complete list of samples that exceeded the action level is provided in a table at the end of this report. Samples are required to be collected after the water has been motionless in the pipes for at least eight hours. These “first draw” water samples represent worst case condition because when sits motionless in pipes and fixtures it can leach lead out of them. The longer the water is sits motionless, the higher the likelihood for lead leaching. Once water begins to flow through the pipes and fixtures, lead levels drop. Please note that most schools have had samples that exceeded the Action Level, especially at fixtures that are not routinely used. We collected samples from some fixtures that are not used for drinking water and therefore did not require sampling. This included samples from outside hose bibs and lab sinks. These samples were not required to be reported but we included them anyway and are identified with an “*” in the list of results in the pdf file.
What is first draw testing of school drinking water for lead?
The “on-again, off-again” nature of water use at most schools can raise lead levels in school drinking water. Water that remains in pipes overnight, over a weekend, or over vacation periods stays in contact with lead pipes or lead solder and, as a result, could contain higher levels of lead. This is why schools are required to collect a sample after the water has been sitting in the plumbing system for a certain period of time. This “first draw” sample is likely to show higher levels of lead for that outlet than what you would see if you sampled after using the water continuously. However, even if the first draw sample does not reflect what you would see with continuous usage, it is still important because it can identify outlets that have elevated lead levels.
What is Being Done?
The following steps have been taken to reduce lead exposure from drinking water in fixture that exceeded the Action Level:
- If the fixture was a drinking fountain, a bubbler, a classroom or office sink then it was turned off immediately.
- If the fixture was located in the kitchen then it was turned off immediately and an alternate water source used for preparing food.
- If the fixture was a bathroom sink or shower then signs were posted that the water should not be used for drinking.
- If the fixture was a lab sink not used for drinking water such as in science labs, then signs were posted that the water should not be used for drinking. This situation applies to Cuba-Rushford. We have taken a more conservative approach and removed these lab sinks from use until they have been remediated.
- If the fixture was a custodial sink or other sink not used for drinking water then signs were posted that the water should not be used for drinking.
Further testing will be conducted on drinking water fixtures to determine if the source of lead is from the plumbing or from the fixture itself. If it is found to be from the fixture, then it will be scheduled for replacement and retested. If it is found to be from the plumbing, consideration will be given to replacing the pipes with plastic or another approved material depending on the amount of work and cost involved.