On September 6, 2016 Governor Cuomo signed legislation requiring all school districts and boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES) in New York State to test potable water systems for lead contamination and to take responsive actions. Lead in children’s drinking water is a serious public health issue.  The “on-again, off-again” nature of water use at most schools can raise lead levels in school drinking water. Water that remains in pipes overnight, over a weekend, or over vacation periods stays in contact with lead pipes or lead solder and could contain higher levels of lead. It is important to identify and address elevated levels of lead in drinking water in schools as part of reducing a child’s overall exposure to lead in the environment.

Student safety is paramount for the Oneida City School District and the district was proactive in testing for lead. The district tested over 100 outlets including all drinking fountains, cafeteria outlets and other sources used in break rooms, etc. during the summer months prior to the regulations being issued. The District acted as quickly as possible to test all remaining sources of potable water as directed by the regulations once they were issued. Below is a summary of all testing results:

Oneida City Schools Lead testing results:

Oneida High School- 177 tests with 143 passed and 34 failed
Otto Shortell Middle School-  78 tests with 58 passed and 20 failed
Durhamville Elementary 45 tests with 44 passed and 1 failed
North Broad Elementary33 tests with 31 passed and 2 failed
Seneca Street Elementary- 33 tests with 31 passed and 2 failed
Willard Prior Elementary- 53 tests with 50 passed and 3 failed
District Office2 tests with 2 passed and 0 failed
Transportation Facility6 tests with 6 passed and 0 failed

All outlets that failed testing were replaced or shut down. The district will continue to monitor lead levels going forward as prescribed by the regulations.

The regulations can be found at the following website: https://regs.health.ny.gov/regulations/emergency. The new regulations resulting from this legislation do not apply to nonpublic schools. If you have a concern or question regarding these regulations or testing done in the District, please contact the district office.