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Herkimer BOCES Health and Safety Service
coordinating regional approach to lead testing

Oct. 28, 2016



The Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Health and Safety Service has been working with the 10 Herkimer BOCES component school districts to conduct lead testing and remediation in accordance with a new state law.

Results have been coming in for many of the districts, and similar to in other regions across the state, the findings are showing that many school buildings have some water outlets that exceed the state’s action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb).

Where results have come in, water fountains and sinks used for cooking or drinking that are above the action level have been turned off, and bathroom, laboratory or hand-washing sinks have been labeled that they should not be used for drinking or cooking. All students in the schools still have access to drinking water from other sources.

“The health and safety of our students is a top priority for all of our schools, so we’re working very closely with our districts on a regional level to ensure water sources are turned off or labeled, concerns are addressed and remediation plans are developed and carried out,” Herkimer BOCES Health and Safety Service Coordinator Adam Hutchinson said.

Following the water crisis in Flint, Mich., public focus on lead in water has increased, and on Sept. 6, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law requiring all public schools in the state to test all water outlets currently or potentially used for drinking or cooking purposes for lead levels. The law, which is one of the first of its kind in the United States, is designed to reduce the risk for exposure to lead and make sure all students have access to clean, drinkable water.

The action level of 15 ppb established for New York state is more stringent than the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended action level of 20 ppb.

“These rigorous new protections for New York’s children include the toughest lead contamination testing standards in the nation and provide clear guidance to schools on when and how they should test their water,” Cuomo said in his news release announcing the law had been signed.

The Herkimer BOCES Health and Safety Service has coordinated with its component districts to have the testing done for each district and Herkimer BOCES by state-approved independent laboratory Adirondack Environmental Services Inc. The BOCES service also is assisting in follow-up, contact with the state Department of Health and the development of remediation plans.

The Herkimer BOCES component school districts are Central Valley, Dolgeville, Frankfort-Schuyler, Herkimer, Little Falls, Mount Markham, Owen D. Young, Poland, Richfield Springs and West Canada Valley.

All districts in the state are required to post their lead testing results on their websites, so for results specific to your district or to Herkimer BOCES, go to the district or BOCES websites, where results are either posted or will be shortly after results come in.




 
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