09-20-18 Water Testing Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Is it safe for children to consume water in our city schools?
A1. Yes, absolutely. All operational district water sources that provide drinking water – including water fountains, ice machines, sinks, and kitchen/food prep equipment – are safe, and have been safe since before the current school year (2018-19) began.
Q2. Was lead found in city schools during testing?
A2. During June and July, we tested 335 water sources in all our district schools, more than were tested last year, because we included fixtures that had been out of service or unused for extended periods of time. In August, we received the results and learned that 29 water sources tested positive for levels of lead that were above what is considered appropriate for consumption. A second round of testing was performed and of the fixtures that tested positive, 17 were found to be safe for drinking. The remaining 12 water sources were removed from service before this current school year (2018-’19) began. [For background, the 12 sources removed from service were 10 sinks at McKinley School – 8 of which hadn’t been used at all the previous year – and 1 source each in the Middle School and Paul Robeson School.]
Q3. What is the requirement for lead testing in drinking water?
A3. The State of New Jersey requires that all school districts test their drinking water at least every six years. New Brunswick Public Schools, however, performs lead testing on an annual basis.
Q4. If district schools are being tested every year, why do new, “positive” results come up for certain water sources?
A4. Each year, we conduct our testing during the summer, when students are not in school. Once pipes that have yielded a positive result are flushed and re-tested, they are usually fine. If a problem cannot be effectively addressed, we remove that water source from service.
Q5. So, what do we really need to know?
A5. All operational district water sources that provide drinking water are safe, and have been since before the current school year (2018-’19) began.