9 Newton Schools Have Lead in Water

9 Newton Schools Have Lead in Water

Dear Newton Public Schools Community,

As many of you know, over the past several months, the City of Newton and the Newton Public Schools have tested water in the public school buildings to gauge lead levels. This testing was in addition to the state-mandated testing conducted yearly and was done as a precautionary measure to safeguard the health and wellness of all students and staff.

Testing of two water fountains in each school in April identified “actionable” lead levels only at Burr Elementary. “Actionable” means the lead level exceeded the EPA standard for safe drinking water of >15 ug/L or parts per billion. Further testing at Burr showed problems with both interior and exterior plumbing. Extensive remediation is being conducted this summer to remedy the problems. Follow up tests were also conducted on drinking fountains at Horace Mann and Ward as initial test results showed lead levels approaching the actionable level. Fortunately, the additional tests revealed no issues.

Because of the issues identified at Burr, the City of Newton decided to test ALL water fountains in ALL schools, along with sinks in nurses’ offices, staff rooms, and kitchens. This testing, conducted by an outside contractor, was just completed. In sum, 264 fixtures in all 23 school buildings were tested at “first draw” (sample taken when water is first turned on.) Results showed elevated lead levels in 12 fixtures across 9 schools (6 fountains and 6 sinks). Please see the attached spreadsheet for all test results.

The City and the District moved quickly to shut off the water fountains and sinks demonstrating elevated lead levels. To remedy the issues, these water fountains and faucets will be replaced. Once the remediation work is complete, follow up testing will be conducted to ensure the problem has been addressed. Summer programs in the Newton Public Schools will continue as scheduled since safe drinking water is available to all participants.

Please know that this work is a top priority for the City and the Newton Public Schools and we are working as quickly as possible to remedy the problems. We are committed to fixing the issues this summer and will provide you with updates and information as we progress. The health and safety of students and staff in our school buildings is paramount and every action step will be taken to ensure our drinking water is safe. Additional information can be found on the City website at www.newtonma.gov/drinkingwater or the NPS website www.newton.k12.ma.us.


David Fleishman


For a pdf version of this letter, please select the following link: Water Testing Results – July 2016.pdf

Please select the following link for the updated water testing results: Updated Water Testing Results.pdf

9 Newton Schools Have Lead in Water

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