Letters: More water testing results for BPMS and BPHS

Dear members of the Broadalbin-Perth community,

As you may be aware, on Sept. 6, 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law that requires public schools in New York state to test for lead in all water outlets currently or potentially used for drinking or cooking.

This letter is to inform you about the results of additional water testing completed at Broadalbin-Perth High School. Results from previous water testing, including other testing done at BPHS, are available on the district website, www.bpcsd.org.

Adirondack Sewer and Water Management collected “first draw” samples ­– meaning the water outlet had not been used for a minimum of eight hours – from 46 faucets and drinking fountains at the high school. Of those samples, six were found to contain lead levels that exceed the state’s action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb). The water outlets that these samples were drawn from were immediately taken out of service.

In general, the water outlets with the highest readings are from sources that are rarely, if ever, used by students or staff, so the water was motionless in the pipes leading to those water outlets for more than 18 hours before the first samples were collected, allowing the water to absorb trace minerals from the surrounding pipes.

On Dec. 8, the district conducted follow-up testing at each of the water outlets that exceeded the state’s action level during initial testing. In addition to the follow-up “first draw” samples, the district also collected second samples immediately following the “first draw” samples, as well as samples after running the water for 30 seconds. The following chart describes the results of all four tests conducted at five of the six outlets in question; the district is awaiting retest results from the sixth outlet:

Date Tested: Oct. 13, 2016 Dec. 8, 2016 Dec. 8, 2016 Dec. 8, 2016
Sample Type: First Draw First Draw Second Sample 30-Sec. Flush
Sample Location All results are parts per billion (ppb)
Athletics Director’s Office 15.5 19 2 1
Balcony Men’s Bathroom Left Sink 20.2 4 4 3
Balcony Men’s Bathroom Middle Sink 21.6 10 4 3
Balcony Women’s Bathroom Left Sink 36 45 30 28
Balcony Women’s Bathroom Right Sink 102 27 9 11

The district also received the results of follow-up testing conducted at two water outlets at B-P Middle School. The following chart describes the results of all four tests conducted at these outlets:

Date Tested: Oct. 6, 2016 Dec. 8, 2016 Dec. 8, 2016 Dec. 8, 2016
Sample Type: First Draw First Draw Second Sample 30-Sec. Flush
Sample Location All results are parts per billion (ppb)
Room 218-2 19.4 21 18 not detectable
Room 219-2 30.6 4 1 1

Because of the initial testing results, we are keeping all of these water outlets out of service until the district’s action plan is approved by the Department of Health.

It is important to note that Broadalbin-Perth has followed its own water-testing protocols for many years — long before the state initiated this recent legislation. Broadalbin-Perth’s operations and maintenance staff annually conduct random samplings of drinking water sources at both campuses. Over the years, the results have shown that levels have consistently tested below the actionable level previously set by the state health department.

We take these findings very seriously and are continuing to work with our architects and engineers to ensure that we can continue to provide safe, healthy drinking water for our students and staff.

Visit our Water Testing webpage for more information about the risks associated with lead, as well as complete test results. If you have any questions or concerns about these test results or the steps the district is taking to address this issue, please contact my office at 954-2500, option 5.

Sincerely,

Stephen Tomlinson
Superintendent of Schools