Elevated Levels of Lead Found in Three More New Rochelle Schools: Barnard, Ward, Jefferson

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Three more schools in New Rochelle have tested positive for elevated levels of lead: Barnard Childhood Center, William B. Ward Elementary School and Jefferson Elementary School. A fourth school, George M. Davis Elementary School, tested positive in April.

At Barnard Childhood Center, 6 drinking fountains have been shut off: Room 3 and Room 6 in the Basement; Room 107 and Room 108 on the First Floor; Room 211 and Room 212 on the Second Floor.

At William B. Ward Elementary School, 5 drinking fountains have been shut off: Room 105, Room 118 and Room 131 on the Ground Floor; Room 10 and Room 16 on the First Floor.

At Jefferson Elementary School, a sink and drinking fountain have been turned off, both in Room 2A on the Ground Floor.

The exact lead levels at the three schools has not yet been released. The EPA action level for lead in water in schools is 20 parts per billion (ppb) and 15 ppb for other buildings. The City School District of New Rochelle is using the more conservative 15 ppb threshold.

A complete report will be made public when all comprehensive testing is completed for all 10 district buildings but the district will continue to act immediately as interim results become available in the meantime, said Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne.

13 water sources at the three schools were shut off early Monday based on interim results of recently completed comprehensive testing at the three schools, results which first became available on Friday. Bottled water is being made available at the three schools. Comprehensive testing was previously completed at Davis School, in May where bottled water has been made available since April.

Additional comprehensive testing continues at the remaining schools in the District; Trinity Elementary School was tested early this morning.

The comprehensive testing follows sampling at all schools done in March. Only Davis School had an elevated lead level during the sampling which analyzed 3 or less samples per building. The District-Wide Health & Safety Committee met to discuss those results in April and recommended comprehensive testing at every school. The Westchester County Department of Health was consulted in May and concurred.

There is no legal requirement that schools test for lead in water. Dr. Osborne took the proactive measure of ordering water quality testing after news reports of elevated levels of lead in water in the Newark School District in New Jersey.

A letter was sent to parents of the three schools earlier today.