NYC School Shuts Off Some Drinking Fountains After Finding High Lead Levels

Four drinking fountains are off-limits inside a Bronx public school after tests found a high level lead in the water running through some of the fixtures inside the school.

A letter sent to parents describe what Department of Education inspectors found: lead was running through 10 of the 63 fixtures at P.S. 41 in Olinville, including the four drinking fountains and several cold water faucets. 

The city flags any water sample with more than 15 parts per billion of lead. 

Parents were concerned. Steve Rivera says he took his daughter to get tested for lead: "We're just trying to follow up and make sure there is nothing in her body." 

The DOE plans to replace the problem fixtures in P.S. 41 within a week. In the meantime, councilman Andy King has donated cases of water to the school as he urged DOE officials to "remedy this situation" as quickly as possible. He also announced Monday that the city will spend $400,000 to make upgrades on the restrooms there. 

DOE School Facilities CEO John Shea tried to reassure the community: "I want to say to parents, the community, is that the water in our buildings is safe but that does not mean when we do the testing that there are not some fixtures with elevated levels of lead."

The DOE is testing every school for lead. NBC 4's own investigation last week found dozens of city schools with high levels of lead in the water, with at least 54 water fountains impacted. 

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