Education

Lead Testing Update from the South Orange Maplewood School District

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MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The following update was sent via email to the South Orange Maplewood School District (SOMSD) community on Saturday, September 23.

Dear SOMSD Families and Staff,

As you know, state mandated testing this past May found elevated lead levels in 9 district plumbing fixtures which provide water for drinking or food preparation. The district remediated those 9 fixtures in response to the findings. 

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In an effort to ensure the safety of our children, SOMSD went over and above state requirements by filtering and/or replacing all water fixtures across the district and not just remediating the original systems that failed testing.

The district completed this massive plumbing project in mid-August and arranged for retesting.  LewCorp was hired to test every plumbing fixture which provides water for drinking or food preparation.  Each fixture was to remain offline until we received results indicating it met safety standards. LewCorp sent us results of this retesting in early September, which we shared with the community, indicating 13 fixtures, out of the 225 tested, had elevated lead levels.  These 13 fixtures are being retested. 

It should be noted that there are two ways in which a fixture can be termed off line. One is the water at the fixture in question is shut off by a valve at the unit. The other is when a fixture has no shut off valves and has to be covered, since shutting the water source for that fixture would result in shutting off all water for entire sections of the building including restrooms.

In a review of the testing results, the district identified 21 plumbing fixtures that were not tested in August. Remediation took place on these fixtures during the summer remediation work, but LewCorp did not report any testing results for them in August.  This included 2 fixtures which tested positive in May and were taken off line. One of these fixtures was completely replaced and the other fixture was filtered during the summer, but neither was retested.  All 21 systems were immediately turned off and covered once we uncovered new information on Thursday, September 21.

Since the initial findings in May, the district has remediated more than 225 plumbing fixtures, rather than the 9 which were required by code.  

It should be noted that, with the exception of the 9 fixtures taken off line, the over 200 fixtures which were replaced over the summer were replaced by district choice. They were operating and met all state and local safety requirements in May and June and could still be on line without remediation today. The district took extensive measures by remediating or replacing all the old fixtures over the summer in order to provide safe drinking water for the children.  We will continue to work with staff and the contractor, and to keep the community informed of the steps taken to ensure safe drinking water for all of our schools

Sincerely,

South Orange Maplewood School District

*      *      *      *      *

Results of September Re-Inspection of Plumbing Fixture Remediation

The following 19 systems were filtered, not on the August report, and found to be accessible when inspected. These systems have now been turned off and covered.

                                 MMS                              Boys Locker Room

MMS

Gr Floor str 1 hall

CHS

Trainers Ice Machine

CHS

C229 Hall

CHS

D301 Hall

Underhill

trainer ice machine

Marshall

RM 108 Hall by Baths

Marshall

RM 108 Hall

Marshall

RM 120 Hall

SOM

Hallway RM 275

South mountain

RM 101

Montrose

Nurse water fountain

Montrose

Sink room b4 - Teacher Lounge

Montrose

RM 104

Montrose

RM 106

Montrose

RM 201

Montrose

RM 204

Montrose

RM 205

Montrose

RM 206

 

The following system was removed during the time of August testing. A new system was installed on Tuesday 9/19 and left on and active. This system has been turned off and covered.

MMS

Girls Locker Rm

 

The following system was not working during the time of August testing. The system was repaired and filtered. The system was on. This system has been turned off and covered.

MMS

Teacher Lounge

 

Related articles

Lead Update from the South Orange Maplewood School District

South Orange Maplewood School District Issues Lead Update - 13 Fixtures had Elevated Lead Levels in Retesting

Update on Lead Testing in Schools from Superintendent Ramos

South Orange Maplewood School District Lead Testing – 9 of 223 Water Samples Did Not Meet Standards, Remedial Action Underway

South Orange Maplewood School District Board of Education Sends Update on Lead Testing Results

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