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NY schools found dangerously high levels of lead in their drinking water


Water crisis

(NaturalNews) As infrastructure in America's oldest cities approaches the century mark in many cases, it is becoming more apparent than ever that a national revitalization plan is needed to address what are evolving – and worsening – health issues related to decay.

One of the biggest health problems related to aging and decaying infrastructure is the delivery of clean, toxin-free drinking water. The latest example of this comes from Western New York state.

As reported by the Buffalo News, several school districts across the region have discovered varying amounts of lead in their drinking water.

The news site goes on to report that at one water fountain in a school in Fredonia, one sample shows that an analysis found 2,850 parts per billion (ppb) of lead – or nearly 200 times the state's limit for lead in drinking water.

At Clarence Center Elementary School, five sinks in the kitchen cafeteria tested above the state threshold of 15 ppb.

Growing problem the more schools that are tested

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has a limit as well: If more than 10 percent of water samples contain at least 15 ppb of lead then actions must be taken by the offender to rectify the problem.

Data also shows that a dozen drinking fountains in classrooms at Anna Merritt Elementary School in the Lockport City School District also had elevated levels of lead. One sample registered 50 ppb.

In all, of the 83 school districts in the area under the Erie 1, Erie 2, Greater Southern Tier and Cattaraugus/Allegany boards of Cooperative Education Services, 15 announced on their respective school web sites that their districts tested for lead in water. In addition, Buffalo News reported, Cleveland Hill Union Free School District and Iroquois Central School District are purported to have tested positive for lead in drinking water, but as of this writing they had not posted that finding on their websites.

Sixty-six more districts had yet to report on their lead findings. State law required that they complete comprehensive water testing at each of their water faucets and fountains by the end of October.

Of course, the most notable example of lead in drinking water recently involved Flint, Mich., where the EPA and state environmental officials knew months in advance that local drinking water that officials were drawing from the Flint River was contaminated with lead, thanks in large part to aging pipes that leached the lead into the water supply.

Trillions of dollars will be needed to repair and upgrade infrastructure like water pipes

But again, this problem is becoming more widespread:

-- In February we reported that federal, state and local officials failed to act when lead was found in the water supply to Sebring, Ohio. The state EPA discovered months earlier but failed to act. The discovery led to the closure of schools in the city.

"Initial tests found elevated lead levels in 28 homes and one school in the Midwestern village of about 4,400 people, Ohio's environmental protection agency said. It is not clear how long lead has been leaking from the town's pipes," MSN reported.

-- In August we reported that residents of the West Calumet Housing Project in East Chicago, Ind., were living on soil that was contaminated with high levels of lead and arsenic. More than 1,000 residents of the 346-unit complex were informed that their homes had to be demolished due to the contamination.

As pervasive as the problem of crumbling U.S. infrastructure is, it won't be cheap to fix: The American Society of Civil Engineers noted in a "report card" in 2013 that the country's infrastructure received a grade of "D+" and would cost $3.2 trillion to upgrade by 2020.

Until then, we should expect more instances of water contamination, particularly in our oldest cities.

Sources:

BuffaloNews.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

InfrastructureReportCard.org

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