Safe and healthy school environments are essential in fostering healthy and successful children. To protect public health, the Public Health Law and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) regulations require that all public schools test lead levels in water from every water outlet that is being used, or potentially being used for drinking or cooking. If lead is found in any water outlet at levels of 15 parts per billion (ppb) or higher, the NYSDOH requires that schools take action to reduce the exposure to lead in the water.

The “on-again, off-again” nature of water use in school buildings can cause varying levels of lead in the water due to water remaining in pipes overnight, over a weekend or over a vacation period. Recent remote learning and hybrid learning instruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly contributed to water stagnation. Water stagnation periods result in water staying in contact with lead pipes and lead solder, and as a result can lead to high levels of lead.

The District recently completed a first draw sampling of 321 water outlets throughout the district during the second week of May 2021 and the first week of August 2021. The District has reported results based on the regulations stated above (i.e. outlets not used for drinking or cooking were excluded). Results from 19 of those outlets showed lead levels above the 15 ppb threshold.

The District is required to take remedial actions to address outlets with elevated levels. Options for remediation include:  permanent outlet removal from service, flushing / retesting and education / signage. The District has taken appropriate remedial action based upon the location / nature of use of the outlet.

If you have further questions about the testing process and any of the remedial actions taken, please do not hesitate to contact the District Office.

Oneida City Schools Lead testing results:

Oneida High School- 92 tests with 86 passed and 6 failed
Otto Shortell Middle School-  59 tests with 54 passed and 5 failed
Durhamville Elementary 47 tests with 45 passed and 2 failed
North Broad Elementary33 tests with 32 passed and 1 failed
Seneca Street Elementary- 31 tests with 27 passed and 4 failed
Willard Prior Elementary- 59 tests with 58 passed and 1 failed