NYS: Lead in School Drinking Water Results

BENTON, ME - DECEMBER 8: Water comes out of a new faucet at Benton Elementary School. The school had high lead levels when their water was tested and have since replaced many of the faucets and water fountains. (Photo by Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Initial results are in on the testing of lead amounts coming through the taps of public school in New York State.

The report stems from a law passed in 2016 requiring all public school districts and boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES) in New York State to not only test potable water systems for lead contamination, but to then also take the actions necessary for addressing it.

According to the report, to date, 96 percent of schools outside of New York City have conducted testing and 88 percent have reported results to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).   

Lead levels in 86 percent of the reported water outlets were below the established action level of 15 ppb.

Communities of some local schools were shocked to find higher than acceptable levels of lead in some water sources.

Reporting districts are listed in the report.  Click here to view it.

If lead is found in the water from any water outlet at levels above 15 parts per billion (ppb), -- equivalent to 15 micrograms per liter (µg/L) - the school is required to take that outlet out of service until it has been fixed or replaced.

NYS Department of Health Facts on Lead

  • Lead is a toxic metal that is particularly harmful to the developing brain and nervous system of children under six. Lead can affect a young child's growth, behavior, and ability to learn. During pregnancy, exposure to lead may contribute to low birth weight, preterm delivery, miscarriage, and developmental delays in infants.
  • It can be found in soil, air and water, but the main source of lead in homes continues to be older paint, the dust it generates, and various consumer products. Water testing helps identify lead contamination and enables schools to eliminate one possible source of lead exposure for children.

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