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Emerson Schools Shut Down 8 Water Sources

Yorktown will hold a pubic hearing on Jan. 22 to determine if it should keep fluoride in its drinking water.
Yorktown will hold a pubic hearing on Jan. 22 to determine if it should keep fluoride in its drinking water. Photo Credit: Jenny Downing / Wikimedia Commons

EMERSON, N.J. – Eleven water sources at two borough schools have levels of lead that exceed health standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, officials said.

Eight samples taken at the Emerson Junior-Senior High School, some from older porcelain sinks and fountains in the cafeteria, were found to exceed 15 parts per billion, according to Emerson Schools Superintendent Brian P. Gatens.

Additionally, high levels were found in two samples at the Patrick M. Villano School and at a faucet at a concession stand at Memorial Elementary School.

ERM, an independent environmental lab, took a total of 98 samples.

As a precaution, all the water sources that tested high, including a third location at Villano School, have been shut down and will remain so until the end of the school year, according to Gatens.

“This summer the district will replace units where needed with newer units,” Gatens said. “These units will have lead filters installed.”

The school district hired ERM, the superintendent explained, because of reports of high lead levels in water in other local and national districts.

“Doing so showed that we were being proactive in addressing any possible issues,” Gatens said.

Once the fixtures are replaced, the water will be retested by ERM before they are put back into service.

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