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Lead In Water Forces New Rochelle School To Shutter Drinking Fountains

Bottled water will be utilized at Davis Elementary in New Rochelle for the remainder of the school year.
Bottled water will be utilized at Davis Elementary in New Rochelle for the remainder of the school year. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - After lead was discovered in the water at George Davis Elementary in New Rochelle, school officials have shut down all drinking sources for the remainder of the year.

Earlier this month, the district voluntarily opted to test the district's water, which showed that some water samples at Davis tested above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended action level for lead in drinking water.

More extensive testing revealed that five drinking fountains in one wing of the school tested above the recommended level of 20 parts per billion. After flushing the lines, a second test showed that two fountains remained above the recommended level.

After reviewing advice and data from consultants advising the district about the contaminated water, the district determined that it was best to shutter the school’s drinking water fountains over the weekend.

According to Davis Principal Michael Galland, “the consultants are now concerned that recent flushing of the water system may have circulated potential problems that were previously isolated to one section of the building, and (they) do not want to take any risk.”

Since the lead was discovered in the water two weeks ago, the district has been working with Westchester County of Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler to take the necessary steps to rectify the problem. For the remainder of the school year, the district will continue supplying the building with five-gallon bottled water containers and other alternate water sources.

In a letter to parents, Galland noted that they will continue working with the county and SUEZ Water to rectify the situation and take steps so it doesn’t happen again.

“After learning of the results, and consulting with experts, we’ve decided that all drinking fountains in grade two through five classrooms and hallways, the cafeteria and outside of the gym doors will be reopened as water from those fountains are safe,” he stated. “Drinking fountains in kindergarten and first grade classrooms located along the main office hallway will remain shut. Students in those classes will continue to access seven water coolers in the hallway.”

“The district has initiated further study and testing of pipes located throughout classrooms located along the main office. (We) thank all of the parents for sending their children to school with water from home. It’s helped us conserve our bottled water and use less cups.”

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