Lead-tainted water flows at schools

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A new round of water tests have revealed an unwanted visitor to some public schools: lead in the water fountains.

Both The Bronx High School of Science and The David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy M.S./H.S. 141 had elevated levels of lead in its water, according to the city’s education department. Officials, however, said that while the lead levels need to be addressed, students had nothing to be concerned about.

“Parents can rest assured that water in schools is safe for students and staff to drink,” education department spokeswoman Toya Holness said.

“There has never been a known case of lead poisoning due to drinking water in schools,” adding that any drinking or cooking water fixture with lead above acceptable levels are immediately taken offline and fixed.

Fixing, Holness added, could likely mean replacing fixtures when necessary as well as putting the school on a weekly flushing protocol to eliminate the lead, while conducting more tests to ensure those levels have dropped back to acceptable levels.

RKA principal Lori O’Mara said the lead alerts had minimal impact on her campus because the high lead levels did not impact drinking fountains there.

The news of elevated lead levels in water at the drinking fountains appeared to have little impact on students.

“I never really drank water from the school,” said Marc Reyes, a senior at the school. “I always bought bottled water, and if anything, they have the vending machine with water, so, I usually buy water from the vending machine.”

RKA junior Pray Torrence said he usually purchases a bottle of juice in the morning and avoids the school’s water. But not because of the lead.

“It’s been nasty from the start,” he said.

Even parents took news of the lead levels in stride. RKA parents association president Elizabeth Benders said her school took “all necessary precautionary steps to ensure the safety of our students.”

Other RKA parents supported O’Mara’s handling of the situation.

“Once I found out about the lead in the water, I was originally concerned since my son does drink from the water fountains at school,” Robin Hochroth said.

“I’m sure Ms. O’Mara is on top of it and would not put our children in harm’s way.”

Bronx Science principal Jean Donahue declined to comment, referring instead to the education department.

However, parent association co-presidents Betsy Newberry and Ellen Dubin said water fountains were lead was found were “rarely used.”

If lead levels are more than 15 parts per billion, a school must stop using that outlet and provide another means for securing drinking water, according to the law passed last year.

The law came after the city education department came under fire for how it handled its voluntary water testing, including some practices that could have tainted the results.

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S.Tieger plumbing

First it was asbestos ,then lead, then mercury, then cadmium, then chlorine (highly carcinogenic) and of course mold

Very orthodox Jews were concerned about a shrimp like protozoa in the water supply (Ask a really Orthodox Rabbi about it)

I had to install .0004 micron filters to remove these critters from a water supply

Then there are those in the population who are highly allergic to copper and other who want the fluoride removed along with sediment and discoloration from their drinking water

So people panicked and bought bottled water which has no government regulation and is put in plastic bottles that possibly leach carcinogenic chemicals into the water such as highly toxic PVC into the same water they thought was safe.

These same people should check their outside drains including the leader lines and main sewers as this poses more of a risk then lead in the water supply.

A missing or defective sewer plug can allow sewer gas which causes not only an odor problem to the occupants of a house, is a mixture of inorganic gases created by the action of anaerobic bacteria and can contain hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen, and hydrogen and other dangerous substances such as petroleum products.

Decaying leaves are a breeding ground for mosquito's inside the storm drains that many people totally ignore and then wonder why they are bitten alive during the summer .

Many homes in Riverdale still have lead water mains, water heaters that are actually incubators for bacteria and yet people do not get deathly sick as ignorance in some cases is bliss

Working as an expert for some of most prestigious law firms in NY such as Burns and Harris, Debevoise & Plimpton, Kenneth Wilhelm and 31 other firms I see an amazing variety of lawsuits and lead in the potable water supply is not on the list.

By the way I also graduated from 141 in the early 1960's and my children also graduated from 141 and I am sure we all drank the water there with no ill effects .

As long as the water is allowed to run a few minutes normally the lead will not even show up in a test

Want something to worry about? Look at the water tanks on the roofs and ask when was the last time they were cleaned or when was your water main actually flushed out?

Thursday, April 20 | Report this
Bx developer

Wow Tiger !! I did check my outside drains and sure enough there are decaying leaves and it smells moldy. Thank you for the heads up

Also I found out you did a lot of the new buildings construction for the Stagg group including where the old Riverdale press was located .

You do nice work

3 days ago | Report this