WEST ORANGE, NJ -- With the topic of lead in the water in the news, the West Orange Board of Education discussed plans for immediate and future testing of water in the schools.
The topic was front page news after a problem with lead in the water was discovered within the Newark school system. Superintendent Jeff Rutzky made it clear that the West Orange district has been proactive in testing the water.
“We randomly go from building to building within three to four year cycles,” he said, adding that last year Edison and Roosevelt schools were tested. Results showed that all but one fountain in the schools were safe, with the unsafe fountain being replaced and tested again to ensure safety.
Rutzky said that one of the reasons why water may become dangerous is due to the age of the schools, some being over a century old, which could lead to bad piping.
Board President Laura Lab said the issue of testing the water has been discussed and action plans put together to address testing.
“Mr. Rutzky had prepared a series of proposals to test the waters, with an obvious cost attached to that,” she said.
Lab said she has been in touch with New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, who is working to obtain a $100 million grant for schools to test the water, but acknowledged that “legislation takes a very long time.”
Pascrell has been in touch with the Passaic Valley Water Commission to come up with something to help with the testing process. Lab said she would hear back shortly about what the commission can do before proceeding with a resolution to test the water in a costlier manner.