ITHACA, NY – The City of Ithaca Department of Public works revealed on their Facebook today page the results of their 2015 Drinking Water Quality Report.

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Amid fears of lead contamination throughout Ithaca City School District schools, it may come as a relief to some city residents to know that the contamination is not coming from the source.

This seems to supports the prevailing theory that corrosion of the aging lead-based water infrastructure, especially in older buildings, is the likely source.

Caroline and Enfield Elementary schools, which were ground zero for the concerns over lead in ICSD schools, are on separate wells and not part of this report.

The report, produced in May, details the results of testing on the three main water sources that supply water to the city: the Bolton Point Municipal Water System, which draws from Cayuga Lake, the City of Ithaca Water System, which draws from Six Mile Creek, and the Cornell University Water System which draws from Fall Creek. Each serves approximately 30,000 people.

Water system lead tests are performed every three years, so the data listed in the report is not from this year.

The numbers listed in the charts for lead represent the 90th percentile of samples taken, followed by the total range of numerical samples.

According to Chuck Baker, Chief Operator of the City of Ithaca Water System, 30 samples are taken from homes served by the system and tested.

Baker said that the number for the City of Ithaca system was in error in the report, which lists the 90th percentile at 15 ppb which is right at the EPA-regulated action level.

Baker reported the 2012 results listed on the report should list the 90th percentile result as 2.2 ppb, with a range of undetectable to 15 ppb.

Another test was done in 2015, Baker said, and the results will be part of the 2016 report. The results showed the 90th percentile at 4.7 ppb, with a range of 0 to 26 ppb — a single sample came in over the action level.

The Bolton Point water system reported the 90th percentile as 3.8 ppb, with a range of undetectable to 5.6 ppb in 2014 results.

The Cornell water system reported the 90th percentile at 0.001 ppb, with a range of undetectable to 4.2 ppb in 2014 results.

The city is currently in the process of upgrading it’s water system, as reported by the Voice in 2014.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.