ITHACA, N.Y. — Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton — who represents Tompkins County and part of Cortland County — said in a statement Thursday that she is introducing new legislation that will change current state policies regarding lead testing in water.

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Lifton said in the statement that all schools and day cares within a water district would be required to use water testing experts to ensure the water does not exceed allowed lead quantities. Parents would receive written notice if any of the water sources test above 15 part per billion.

Related: Parents furious about Caroline elementary lead levels, lack of communication

Recently several Tompkins County Schools had water sources test positive for high levels of lead. One hand washing sink in a classroom at Caroline Elementary School had so much lead in it, the EPA states that the level is considered “toxic waste.”

Related: Caroline lead testing: over half of samples above action level, one at “toxic waste” level

Lifton’s news release can be read in it’s entirety below:

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WFP-125AD, Tompkins/Cortland) announced today that she is introducing legislation to improve the process for testing, monitoring, and notification of lead in the water of our schools and day care facilities across New York State.

“In light of the recent findings of high lead levels in some schools in Tompkins County, and concerns raised statewide about aging infrastructure, it is clear that action must be taken to fix our monitoring and reporting system for lead in water supplies,” said Lifton. “My legislation will require that each water district, with its trained experts, would test for lead in all the schools and day care sites within that water district, and that parents will receive written notification if the lead is above 15 parts per billion.”

“I believe that it is a state responsibility to make sure all New Yorkers have clean water to drink, and use for cooking and bathing, so I also see it as a state responsibility to pay for such testing and necessary remediation. Also, schools and water districts are operating under a tax cap and have no ability to pay for additional mandates,” Lifton continued.

“Old water pipes leaching lead into our water is a statewide, and national, concern, and it must be dealt with expeditiously as we move towards a real solution to benefit all New Yorkers, especially our children, who are most susceptible to lead poisoning,” Lifton concluded.

This is a developing story. 

(featured photo: Alex from Flickr)

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.