WARREN, NJ - Lead levels in the drinking water at Watchung Hills Regional High School will be tested over a two-day period on Sunday, Feb. 19 and Monday, Feb. 20.
WHRHS business administrator, Timothy Stys,announced the scheduled testing at the last meeting of the Board of Education and Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett addressed the Watchung Hills Regional High School Learning Community today as follows.
"Watchung Hills High School is committed to proving a safe environment for our students and staff. As required by recently approved Department of Education regulations, all drinking water outlets in our facilities must be sampled for lead. Watchung Hills Regional High School has scheduled the drinking water sampling for Monday, February 20, 2017.
In order to prepare for and conduct the testing, there will be no access to the building on Sunday, February 19 or Monday, February 20."
Jewett provided additional information on the testing, including steps to be taken once the results are received.
Gov. Chris Christie determined last May that all public schools in New Jersey would have their water tested for unsafe levels of lead, and be reimbursed for the cost.
“The important thing to know is that no one can be in the building on Feb. 19 and 20,” Stys said at the board meeting. “Some of the facilities are on motion detection so it’s very important no one be here.
Once we obtain the results from the company they will be posted on our website, including any remediation we may have to take.”
FAQs on Lead Testing in Schools provided by Jewett:
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters the body from drinking water or other Sources. Lead is most dangerous for pregnant women, infants, and children under 6 years old. Exposure to high levels of lead during pregnancy contributes to low birth weight and developmental delays in infants. In young children, lead exposure can lower IQ levels, affect hearing, reduce attention span, and hurt school performance. At very high levels, lead can even cause brain damage.
Lead is rarely found in the source water; rather it enters the drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in the Service line or interior plumbing. These materials include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass and chrome-brass faucets, and in some cases, pipes made of lead that connect buildings to water mains (service lines). Since 1986, all plumbing materials must be “lead free". The law currently allows plumbing materials to be up to 0.25 percent lead to be labeled as "lead free". However, prior to January 4, 2014, “lead free" allowed up to 8 percent lead content of the wetted Surfaces of plumbing products including those labeled National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified.
What Actions We Are Taking?
Prior to sampling, Watchung Hills Regional High School developed a Lead Sampling Plan and conducted a plumbing profile. The purpose of the plumbing profile was to identify all drinking water outlets and evaluate the plumbing materials of the school to determine if lead solder, lead pipes or a lead service line are present.
We anticipate receiving the results from our laboratory within two weeks of sampling. Upon receiving the sample results, Watchung Hills High School will inform you if any of the drinking water outlets had a result greater than the action level of 15 μg/l (parts per billion [ppb]) . The results will be posted on our web site and be used to assist in the prioritization of future water testing for lead in accordance with our Lead Sampling Plan.
Watchung Hills Regional High School will also implement immediate remedial measures for any drinking water outlet with a result greater than the action level of 15 μg/l (ppb). This will include turning off the outlet unless it is determined the location must remain on for non-drinking purposes. In these cases, a "DO NOT DRINK-SAFE FOR HANDWASHING ONLY” sign will be posted.
How Can I Learn More?
For more information about water quality in our schools, please contact the Director of Operations, Roland Juliano at Watchung Hills Regional High School at 908-647-4800 ext. 4848.
For information about water quality and sampling for lead at home, contact your local water supplier or refer to the Department of Environmental Protection's Website at http://www.ni.gov/dep/waterSupply/dwc-lead-Schools.html.
WHRHS Board of Education Hears Update on Lead Testing in Warren