ITHACA, NY – A new report released Thursday indicates that faulty testing procedures might have overstated the lead problem in Caroline — but results from Enfield are less conclusive.
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In March, the Tompkins Health Department raised questions about the validity of the testing procedures that showed extremely elevated levels of lead in the two schools.
The new report, provided by the Ithaca City School District and Tompkins County Health Department, seems to bear out that theory in Caroline but Enfield still showed a number of elevated results.
According to the press release, additional information is required to assess the situation at the schools. As reported earlier this week, ICSD has contracted a consultant to assist with the testing and possible remediation.
This is a developing story. The Ithaca Voice will analyze these reports and provide a more detailed summary later today.
The complete press release and the reports are posted below:
The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) and the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) have been investigating lead in the drinking water in the Caroline and Enfield Elementary Schools. Elevated levels of lead were detected in the drinking water at both schools in August 2015. The ICSD turned off all consumptive-use fixtures and has been supplying certified bottled water.
The TCHD and the ICSD collected separate sets of samples at Caroline and Enfield Elementary Schools in March 2016. All fixtures at both schools were previously tested in February 2016. The March results from Caroline were significantly better than the school-wide test results from February 2016. The results also indicated that flushing the drinking water fixtures for a short period of time might be effective in reducing lead levels in the drinking water.
The Enfield results were not as conclusive – with some results being higher and some lower than previous sampling results.
Additional information is needed to assess the situation at both schools: A plumbing profile needs to be developed. The ICSD has selected a consultant who will assist in this and related activities. Source (ground) water samples have been collected at both schools and will be tested for water quality parameters in addition to lead. The source water results and the plumbing profile will be used to determine what additional sampling should be conducted or if other changes should be implemented.
The ICSD will continue to provide certified bottled water while the investigation continues. TCHD will be coordinating with ICSD, NYSDOH and EPA on the investigation at all schools in the District.
Reports for these interim results at Caroline and Enfield Elementary Schools are posted on the TCHD and ICSD websites:
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