Photo by Michael Shain
State Sen. Michael Gianaris introduced legislation mandating water quality testing in schools and parks across New York to protect children from lead contamination.
By Bill Parry

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) has proposed legislation mandating lead inspections of sinks and water fountains at schools and parks throughout New York state.

The measure requires that schools and parks test for potable water every three years to determine if there is any contamination and if elevated levels are found, the location would have up to 90 days to remedy the situation.

“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.”

A law enacted in 2016 required schools to test for lead in water every five years, while no such mandate exists for public parks. Gianaris’ bill, known as S9160, increases the scope of testing to include parks, requires testing occur more frequently and creates an open data disclosure of the information in which results would be submitted to the state and displayed online for public review.

In 2016, the New York Times reported 83 percent on New York City school buildings had at least one fixture contaminated with lead. The schools with the highest rates of contamination were found in Queens, with one school, PS 95 in Jamaica, having 34 fixtures with lead levels above the E.P.A. threshold, according to the Times.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr[email protected] or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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