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Superintendent: High Lead Levels Found In Pascack School Fountains

Water fountain
Water fountain Photo Credit: Wikipedia

MONTVALE, N.J. -- Officials shut down drinking fountains in Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley high schools after unacceptable levels of lead were found in the water, Schools Supt. P. Erik Gundersen announced Friday.

The elevated levels "are most likely a result of lead solder that may have been used on water pipes when the buildings were constructed or when the fountains were installed," Gundersen said, in a message to parents and staff.

"Our remediation plan is to replace the affected water fountains with new water coolers / fountains that include lead filtration," he said.

"The new fountains, upon installation, will be re-tested for lead prior to student use," the superintendent added. "This process will take several months to complete as the process is labor intensive and expensive."

Although New Jersey schools aren't required to test for lead, "reports of high levels of lead in several New Jersey schools has been a cause for concern," Gundersen said. "As a result, the district recently ordered water testing to be conducted by both Suez and a private environmental testing company.

"Lead levels were registered below the Environmental Protection Agency's acceptable limits of 15 billions parts per billion."

A private environmental company also tested all water fountains throughout the schools and faucets used in kitchens, the superintendent said.

"Unfortunately, elevated levels were found in seven locations," Gundersen said.

Those at Pascack Hills High School, he said, were at water fountains in the main lobby, outside the guidance office, and adjacent to rooms 110 and 212, as well as in handwashing and slop sinks in the cafeteria kitchen area (not accessible for students and not used for cooking or drinking).

The same was found at a fountain next to Room 164 at Pascack Valley High School, the superintendent said.

Those fountains were immediately shut down, he said.

"Student safety is our primary concern and we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter," Gundersen added.

Pascack Regional High School DIstrict: 201-358-7004

Email: egundersen@pascack.k12.nj.us

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