Deputy Chancellor, NYC Department of Education;
Acting Commissioner, NYC Department of Environmental Protection;
Dr. Oxiris Barbot,
First Deputy Commissioner, NYC Department of Health
NYC water is of the highest quality in the world, with City agencies conducting over 500,000 water tests annually.
Water in NYC schools is safe for students and staff to drink – there has never been a case of lead poisoning attributed to drinking water in NYC schools.
The New York City Departments of Education, Health and Mental Hygiene, and Environmental Protection, in coordination with state agencies, work in close partnership on a rigorous testing and remediation protocol. Citywide testing is ongoing and we are sharing detailed information with families.
In any building where lead test results show even one water outlet above the action level of 15 parts per billion, the DOE implements its standard response protocol, including:
· Removing any drinking or cooking water fixture outlets with elevated levels from service.
· Flushing all or part of the system to eliminate water sitting in pipes overnight.
· Replacing equipment and re-testing after the equipment is replaced.
Comparisons of New York City’s water supply to that of Flint, Michigan could not be further from the truth. Flint had, and continues to struggle with, a systemic issue with its water source, and as they ran the water through pipes, it continued to get worse. In New York City, in most cases, flushing the water through the pipes for just 30 seconds dramatically reduces the likelihood of lead from pipe leaching into the water. For that reason, the samples taken during testing are not representative of the water students have access to throughout the day.
Communities can be rest assured that New York City’s water supply is safe to drink and the City’s testing and remediation protocol in schools is comprehensive and strong.