Testing finds high lead levels in water at public school on Roosevelt Island

ROOSEVELT ISLAND (WABC) -- There are worries over the water at a public school on Roosevelt Island.

Testing revealed alarming levels of lead in several faucets at PS/IS 217.

Parents say they're pretty confident this school and the Department of Education are on top of this and properly handling it.

Officials at PS/IS 217 are in the process of actually switching out eight faucets inside the building.

Those faucets and fixtures, they believe are the source of this problem.

Now earlier last month, routine testing revealed elevated levels of lead in water samples.

Federal guidelines require the city to do something if tests show the amounts of lead is 15 parts per billion or higher.

While 100 samples were taken, eight were red flagged.

A few examples: water from the faucet in the weight room tested at 3,430 parts per billion, in the library, 68.9, and in a first floor kitchen, 60.2 parts per billion.

The DOE tells Eyewitness News all faucets will no longer be used.

None of the tainted samples, they say, came from drinking fountains or where water would come for drinking.

And they say unlike Flint, Michigan, where the water was contaminated, they believe the source of this was the pipes and fixtures.

"This is the first water that has been sitting in pipes overnight that is being tested. And so that's when water is sitting stagnant in Manhattan in pipes overnight, it may gain some lead. The water itself is safe," said Elizabeth Rose, DOE.

"I believe the school administration is getting this resolved," a parent said.

"But you would like to see more tests," Eyewitness News said.

"I would like for it to be done frequently and on the part of the DOE, not just wait another six months," the parent said.

That retesting, Eyewitness News is told, will happen as soon as all those fixtures and faucets are removed from the school.

Retesting is currently going on in all 1,800 public schools in the city although the DOE is not ready to share any of those results.
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