MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - More than 200 water sources in Mount Vernon Schools have to be replaced, or shuttered completely after the district voluntarily tested for lead.
Following reported media stories of elevated lead levels in schools throughout the tri-state area, the district voluntarily tested 2,500 water sources for lead, and found that 39 high-priority drinking water sources contained lead levels above the EPA-reccomended 15 ppb have been turned off and will be removed or replaced when school opens on Sept. 6.
Additionally, 173 medium-priority non-drinking water sources had elevated lead levels, which will be permanently labeled with signage reading “Handwashing Only - Not For Drinking.”
“The voluntary testing, which was not required by law or regulation, was conducted as a preventative measure as the safety of our children, teachers and staff are the priority,” Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton said. “All possible drinking water outlets were tested. Our goal was to definitively identify any locations within the district where further investigation or lead reduction actions could be taken.”
The testing occurred between May 22 and June 22 and the results have been reviewed by the Westchester County Department of Health. During testing, two samples were taken, an initial draw and a 30-second flush sample - a water sample taken after a water source runs for 30 seconds.
“Everyone wants a safe environment to learn and teach in. With recent news events, the district felt it was necessary to proactively conduct this voluntary testing,” Hamilton added. “Now, we are taking corrective measures to ensure that everyone has access to safe water and does not drink from sources that are not meant for drinking.”