Monday, January 30, 2017

Elevated Levels Of Lead Found In Water Samples At Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 - Drinking Water Safe But Affected Fixtures Taken Out Of Service Until Fixed Says School Principal

On Thursday, January 26, parents of children attending Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 

Image Of Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217

received a letter dated January 25 with a notice from the NYC Department Of Education (DOE) advising that elevated levels of lead were found in the water at the school.

I asked PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman:
I received inquiries today regarding issue of lead found in water at PS/IS 217 and a letter sent to parents of kids at school about the matter.

Is this true?

Any comment or statement to the community?
Ms Beckman replied:
The DOE conducted a test for lead on January 10, 2017 and the results showed elevated levels of lead in 8 out of 100 samples. The affected fixtures are out of service and the water had been turned off in those fixtures until it is fixed. The school's water fountains are safe for drinking and the sinks used to prepare foods are safe. You can visit  to learn more about the protocol used by the DOE to ensure the safety of drinking water, as well as to look up water test results.
Below is the letter sent to Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 parents concerning elevated levels of lead found in the water. (Click on the full screen icon at bottom right of letter for better reading)

Outlets with water samples above 15 parts per billion (PPB) were taken out of service at these locations.

Image From DOE Notice, page1

The NYC DOE has more info on schools water safety here and in this video.

UPDATE 2/3 - DNA Info picks up the story:
High levels of lead were found in water samples from a classroom, library, kitchen and other sources at a Roosevelt Island public school this month, according to officials — with some tests revealing levels higher than samples taken at Flint, Michigan, during its water crisis....
Full DNA Info article here.

PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman sent this additional statement to PS/IS 217 PTA:
STATEMENT BY Principal Beckman Regarding 217 Water Safety
Dear Parents,

Please be assured that our school's water fountains are safe for drinking and the sinks used to prepare foods are safe. In addition, we will continue to monitor the water situation closely as the health and safety of your children and our staff are our paramount concerns....
Full statement here.

UPDATE 2/3, 6 PM - According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
In light of the recent reports of elevated lead levels in the water at P.S./I.S. 217, RIOC and City Council Member Ben Kallos contacted city officials and received the statement below. We will continue to follow up on this matter with the Mayor’s Office and update the community as new information develops. Thank you.
NYC water is of the highest quality in the world, with City agencies conducting over 500,000 water tests annually.

Water in NYC schools is safe for students and staff to drink – there has never been a case of lead poisoning attributed to drinking water in NYC schools.

The New York City Departments of Education, Health and Mental Hygiene, and Environmental Protection, in coordination with state agencies, work in close partnership on a rigorous testing and remediation protocol. Citywide testing is ongoing and we are sharing detailed information with families.

In any building where lead test results show even one water outlet above the action level of 15 parts per billion, the DOE implements its standard response protocol, including:

· Removing any drinking or cooking water fixture outlets with elevated levels from service.

· Flushing all or part of the system to eliminate water sitting in pipes overnight.

· Replacing equipment and re-testing after the equipment is replaced.

Comparisons of New York City’s water supply to that of Flint, Michigan could not be further from the truth. Flint had, and continues to struggle with, a systemic issue with its water source, and as they ran the water through pipes, it continued to get worse. In New York City, in most cases, flushing the water through the pipes for just 30 seconds dramatically reduces the likelihood of lead from pipe leaching into the water. For that reason, the samples taken during testing are not representative of the water students have access to throughout the day.

Communities can be rest assured that New York City’s water supply is safe to drink and the City’s testing and remediation protocol in schools is comprehensive and strong.

Statement from: Elizabeth Rose, Deputy Chancellor, NYC Department of Education; Vincent Sapienza, Acting Commissioner, NYC Department of Environmental Protection; Dr. Oxiris Barbot, First Deputy Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene