March 1, 2017
Dear Parents, Guardians and Staff:
The health and safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance to the Lenape Regional High School District (District) Board of Education and Administration. As required by New Jersey Department of Education regulations, all drinking water outlets in our facilities must be sampled for lead. Lead drinking water sampling is scheduled for the following dates: Lenape High School – March 19th; Seneca High School – March 19th; Shawnee High School – March 26th; Cherokee High School North & South – March 26th; and The Sequoia Alternative Program – March 26th.
Why Test School Drinking Water for Lead?
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters the body from drinking water or other sources. Lead is most dangerous for pregnant women, infants, and children under 6 years old. Exposure to high levels of lead during pregnancy contributes to low birth weight and developmental delays in infants. In young children, lead exposure can lower IQ levels, affect hearing, reduce attention span, and impact school performance. At very high levels, lead can even cause brain damage. Lead rarely is found in the source water; typically entering the drinking water as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in the service line or interior plumbing. These materials include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass and chrome-brass faucets, and in some cases, pipes made of lead that connect buildings to water mains (service lines). Beginning in 1986, Federal and State laws have reduced the amount of lead allowed in plumbing materials. The law currently allows plumbing materials containing up to 0.25 percent lead to be labeled “lead free”. Prior to January 4, 2014, the law allowed up to 8 percent lead content of the wetted surfaces of plumbing products, including those labeled National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified.
What Actions Are We Taking?
Prior to sampling, District officials developed a Lead Sampling Plan for all of our schools and conducted a plumbing profile. The purpose of the plumbing profile was to identify all drinking water outlets and evaluate the plumbing materials of the school to determine if lead solder, lead pipes or a lead service line are present.
All drinking water outlets in the District will be sampled. We anticipate receiving the results from our laboratory within two weeks of sampling. Upon receiving the sample results, we will inform you if any of the drinking water outlets had a result greater than the action level of 15 µg/l (parts per billion [ppb]) and will post all of the results on our website. Fifteen parts per billion is the Federal action level for lead. The results will be used to assist in the prioritization of future water testing for lead in accordance with the District’s Lead Sampling Plan.
District officials also will implement immediate remedial measures for any drinking water outlet with a result greater than the action level of 15 µg/l (ppb). This will include turning off the outlet unless it is determined the location must remain on for non-drinking purposes. In these cases, a “DO NOT DRINK – SAFE FOR HANDWASHING ONLY” sign will be posted. If the results warrant, we also will develop an intermediate and long-range plan to ensure that no student or staff member ever will be exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water.
How Can I Learn More?
For more information about water quality in our schools, please contact Anthony Voiro, Director of Buildings and Grounds, at 609-268-2000 Ext. 5525. For information about water quality and sampling for lead at home, contact your local water supplier or refer to the Department of Environmental Protection’s website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/dwc-lead-schools.html.
Carol L. Birnbohm, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools