Sunday, February 5, 2017
From New York Times, Feb 3, reporter Kate Taylor. Full story here.
When experts said last year that New York City’s method of testing water in public schools for lead could hide dangerously high levels of the metal, officials at first dismissed the concerns. They insisted that the city’s practice of running the water for two hours the night before taking samples would not distort results.
Still, the city changed its protocol, and the results from a new round of tests indicate that the experts were right.
So far, the latest tests have found nine times as many water outlets — kitchen sinks, water fountains, classroom faucets or other sources — with lead levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s “action level” of 15 parts per billion as last year’s tests found, according to a report released by the state health department last week.
And in some schools where the earlier tests detected problems, the lead levels identified by the new tests were much worse.
At Intermediate School 27, the Anning S. Prall School, on Staten Island, a first round of tests, conducted in April 2016 after the water had been allowed to run, a practice known as pre-stagnation flushing, found six outlets with lead levels above the E.P.A. threshold. The highest level was found in water from a classroom faucet, where the lead concentration was 49 parts per billion.