October 31, 2016
A Message from the Chief Operating Officer of Western Suffolk BOCES
As you are aware, in the interest of protecting our students and staff and prior to any legislation mandating action, Western Suffolk BOCES initiated a program in June 2016 to test all potable (drinkable) water outlets for lead within our schools and facilities. We followed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidelines regarding how we conducted the testing and which water outlets we tested. In September 2016, we sent letters to all parents and staff members informing them of the water testing results for their respective buildings.
Of the 14 buildings within Western Suffolk BOCES where water testing was conducted, eight (8) buildings had negative findings for lead. In the remaining six (6) buildings where positive findings were returned, we immediately secured these water sources and they are no longer in use. The complete Western Suffolk BOCES findings are listed on the “Western Suffolk BOCES Potable Water Testing Results” chart. We are in the process of remediating these water outlets by replacing these units. These units will not be returned to use until the remediation is completed and follow-up testing confirms that the levels in the water are within EPA guidelines.
The North Babylon School District tested the potable water in Brennan Middle/High School, a building it owns. Two faucets in the Brennan Middle/High School building had positive findings for lead and those outlets are being remediated by the district. New York State is testing the water outlets at the Sagamore Children’s Center, where Western Suffolk BOCES conducts an educational program. With regard to Western Suffolk BOCES ALC Program classes, the host districts are conducting the required water testing.
This month, the New York State Department of Health expanded upon the EPA guidelines that were initially followed for the water testing we conducted and is now requiring that every faucet in every school building be tested for baseline lead levels. This includes water outlets previously not tested such as custodial utility sinks, outside faucets, etc. Although we have already conducted testing for 171 water outlets that were identified as potable (drinkable) water sources under the EPA guidelines, we are now beginning testing on all remaining water outlets to meet the new and expanded New York State Department of Health regulations.
As with the procedure to date, should any of the outlets result in positive findings for lead, we will immediately secure those outlets and perform the necessary remediation. We will share the findings of the new water testing with parents, staff and adult students.
Chief Operating Officer