Education

Tests for Lead Come Up Clean in Water at 5 New Brunswick Schools

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Five city schools with water sources that last year contained high levels of lead are now in check, according to the results of a new test.

New Brunswick Public Schools made headlines last May when it announced that a scan of 181 water sources in the district revealed 14 faucets were in need of remediation due to the presence of lead, a poison that can cause short-term health problems and long-term illnesses, like heart disease. Those results showed concentrations of lead that in some cases exceed 15 parts per billion, the federal limit.

School officials quickly cut off access to those water sources. Since then, the district has performed a range of upgrades, from replacing faucets and pipes to installing new fountains.

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Now, an analysis of samples taken from 11 water sources on March 30 turned up no water source with an unacceptable amount of lead. Each sample contained less than 1 part per billion, according to the results.

“Those outlets … are not considered to be elevated and no mitigation is necessary,” a representative of the LEW Corporation, an environmental-services firm contracted by the district, wrote in a letter.

The school district first released the results in an April 28 letter to New Brunswick families. The note is also available online.

Lead tests occurred at one water source in both Livingston Elementary School and the Lincoln Annex School, two water sources in Roosevelt Elementary School and McKinley Community School and five water sources in New Brunswick Middle School.

No tests occurred at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School. Last year, two water fountains in the building were found to have had concentrations of lead at nearly double the federal limit.

This round of testing focused on water sources that were remediated in 2017.

State regulations require school districts to check their water for lead once every six years. Since last year’s findings, New Brunswick has opted to perform annual examinations.

“I believe our consistent attention to the district’s drinking water further demonstrates how committed we are to the health of our students and everyone else who consumes water in our schools,” Superintendent Aubrey Johnson wrote in the letter to parents.

He noted that the district has also since remediated water sources with smaller traces of lead, despite not being legally obligated to do so.

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