Astoria senator’s bill would require more stringent lead tests in school & park water systems


A Queens state senator has proposed legislation that would require all schools and parks in the Empire State to test their water for lead every three years.

The current law, passed in 2016, required schools to test their water every five years. There was no previous requirement for public parks.

The new bill proposed by state Senator Michael Gianaris would mandate that schools and parks check all sinks and water fountains for lead and report their results to the state. If lead was found, the school would have 90 days to fix the problem.

The new bill also would mandate that results should be made available to the public online.

“Too many children are exposed to lead and other harmful substances at public places where they should be safe,” Gianaris said. “This proposal would reduce the risk of exposure and ensure our schools and parks are not doing damage to our kids.”

In 2017, The New York Times reported that 83 percent of New York City schools had at least one sink or water fountain with lead contamination.

Two Queens schools had the highest levels of lead, according to the Times report. P.S. 95 in Jamaica had 34 contaminated outlets, while P.S. 208 in Bellerose had 36.

The city’s Department of Education said that every contaminated outlet has been turned off until it was replaced and retested to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. There have been no cases of lead poisoning caused by school drinking water.

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