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East Ramapo Tests Reveal Elevated Lead Levels In School Water

The East Ramapo school district says it has turned off all the affected taps and is moving to rectify the situation.
The East Ramapo school district says it has turned off all the affected taps and is moving to rectify the situation. Photo Credit: File

EAST RAMAPO, N.Y. -- Slightly elevated lead levels have been found in the water at some buildings in the East Ramapo school district, according to Schools Superintendent Deborah L. Wortham.

Wortham, in a statement released Wednesday, just a week before classes start, did not specify the number of, or which, schools were affected.

However, a report by lohud.com put the number at nine.

She also did not say what the exact levels were.

Tests conducted over the summer detected lead levels that surpassed federal limits, a problem, Wortham said, that “many schools and other public facilities are dealing with across the state.”

She attributed it “to antiquated pipes and other aging infrastructure.”

Immediate steps being taken by the district include shutting off faucets used for cooking and drinking water in the affected buildings; installing purified water dispensaries, and putting up signs in English, Spanish, Creole and Yiddish explaining the situation.

Wortham said the district is also working with Rockland County BOCES and a private engineering firm to rectify the problem.

It hopes to resolve the lead issue as quickly as possible and all affected water sources will be replaced and re-tested before they get the go-ahead to be used.

The district also plans to continue testing the water to ensure that it adheres to “high water quality standards,” the superintendent said.

This year, drinking water contamination in Flint, Mich., and Newark, N.J., spurred demands from the public for water testing.

According to the lohud.com report, Rockland BOCES started monitoring its own water sources in April and also started testing most of the public schools in Rockland.

The only exceptions were Clarkstown and Pearl River, which, lohud.com reported, used their own contractors.

Most of those initial tests were wrapped up before the end of the school year in June, the lohud.com story said.

BOCES followed up over the summer and remediation work is nearly done in seven districts, lohud.com reported.

East Ramapo contacted BOCES on the first day of June and tests got under way on June 11, the lohud.com report said.

To read the lohud.com article, click here.

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