Valley Stream Union Free School District 30 Addresses Water Safety
In the wake of this year’s news reports regarding water contamination in schools on other parts of the country, the Valley Stream Union Free School District 30 conducted testing from its water sources at the Administration Building, Clear Stream, Forest Avenue and Shaw Avenue elementary schools and Washington Avenue Kindergarten Center. Although, in the initial tests, some samples at Clear Stream and Shaw Avenue came in higher than the New York State Regulatory Limit of 15 parts per billion, follow-up tests found all samples to be below these levels and safe for drinking. All samples collected at the other facilities were significantly lower than 15 ppb.
The results from the samples collected on May 18, 2016 revealed that water from certain sinks and fountains surpassed 15 ppb. The district received this report from EnviroScience, the company that conducted the tests, on the evening of June 14. Any sinks and fountains of concern were taken out of service before students and staff members arrived the next morning. After taking these immediate measures and thoroughly exploring the test findings, the district underwent the second set of tests on June 22. Those samples were all found to be below actionable levels.
In preparing for the first round of tests, the district followed EPA recommendations to flush the lines by running water in the locations from which samples were to be obtained. Upon reviewing the results report, District officials observed that two of the devices – both fountains at Clear Stream Avenue Elementary School – had possibly not been properly flushed. The fountain located near room 26 had been shut off for at least three weeks due to a leak, and the sample was taken by removing a supply hose. As for the other fountain, in room 9, the faucet was flushed but the bubbler, most likely, was not.
Samples taken from devices in which the water has been in the pipes for a minimum of 8 hours, but not more than 18 hours, most accurately represent the actual water that is consumed. Not executing the proper flushing practices may alter test results.
The District took action to ensure safe drinking water from its devices. Bubblers and faucets in locations where samples exceeded 15 ppb were replaced with new, lead-free ones. Special care was taken to properly flush the lines prior to the follow-up tests.
The re-test samples were drawn from two locations at Clear Stream Elementary School and six locations at Shaw Avenue Elementary School. They were collected in laboratory-supplied containers, preserved properly and transported to a certified laboratory for analysis.
The Clear Stream Avenue room 26 and room 9 fountains’ May 18th draws came out at 1,700 ppb and 240 ppb, respectively. The June 22 tests showed samples from these same devices to be substantially lower at 7.6 ppb and 13 ppb in a 15-second draw and 10 ppb and 2.2 ppb in a 60-second draw.
At Shaw Avenue Elementary School, samples from six locations initially exceeded 15 ppb, with levels ranging from 15 to 93. The re-test samples showed levels that were, for the most part, less than 1 ppb and no higher than 3.5.
New York State lawmakers recently passed a bill requiring public school districts and BOCES to routinely test their drinking water for lead contamination and report the results. The bill provides for additional building aid to school districts for testing and remedial measures. The bill is expected to be signed into law and to take full effect 90 days later.
The safety of our students and staff members is of the utmost importance, and testing water enables us to be proactive in addressing any potential issues with our resources. We will continue to conduct water testing periodically and are in support of the new bill.