OPEN LETTER FROM NORTH ROCKLAND SUPERINTENDENT ILEANA ECKERT REGARDING LEAD IN WATER

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Dear North Rockland Central School District Families and Staff,

Given recent local and national new headlines regarding elevated lead levels in municipal and school water supplies, the North Rockland Central School District decided to move quickly to test our water supply to ensure that our students and faculty are provided with safe drinking water

In May, we contracted with the Rockland BOCES Health and Safety Division to access the lead levels in the water distribution systems throughout the district. Between June 3, 2016 and June 24, 2016 BOCES technicians sampled water in each of our buildings in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protocol. The samples were then analyzed by an independent third party certified laboratory. The Results of these analyses were received by the school district between June 24, 2016 and July 11, 2016. This letter is intended to apprise you of the results.

The BOCES team took approximately 420 samples, the vast majority of which were under the EPA standard for lead in the water of 20 parts per billion (ppb). However, we did find some devices (listed below) that had readings at or above the EPA standard after initial testing:

  • Fieldstone Middle School – all test within acceptable range
  • Haverstraw Elementary School – 1 kitchen sink, 1 nurse’s office sink, 1 classroom sink and one attendance office sink
  • James A. Farley Elementary School – 5 classroom sinks and one bathroom sink
  • North Rockland High School – 1 Annex Kitchen sink and one Annex classroom sink
  • North Rockland HS Extension/Administration Building – 3 classroom sinks
  • Stony Point Elementary School – 4 classroom sinks
  • Thiells Elementary School – all tests within acceptable range
  • West Haverstraw Elementary School – 2 classroom sinks
  • Willow Grove Elementary School – 1 classroom sink, 1 maintenance service hose connection

It is not unusual for fixtures in older buildings to have slightly elevated results, especially when the water has been sitting for some time. However, out of an abundance of caution, we have taken each of these devices offline until the suggested maintenance was performed. We are now awaiting the new test results taken after corrective action was taken. We will make those public as soon as we receive them. Please note that NONE of the drinking fountains installed in our schools contained an elevated presence of lead that exceeds the EPA’s threshold (20 ppb) required for safe consumption.

We will continue to consult with Rockland BOCES and the Rockland County Department of Health no our next steps. Although the Health Department does not believe school drinking water is a significant source of lead, we continue to take this situation seriously, and will keep you informed as we move forward with this process.

As always, the health and safety of our students and staff remains a top priority. I am confident that we’ve taken all the necessary steps to ensure the well-being of our North Rockland families. A Frequently Asked Questions document is attached to help address some of your questions. Please feel free to contact our offices with any additional concerns.

Sincerely,

Ileana Eckert

Superintendent of Schools

Paul Rooney

Director of Facilities III

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