Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is pushing for federal funding to help school districts pay to have their water tested for lead.
The senator said Wednesday he has introduced legislation that would establish $100 million in grants, partially in response to the elevated levels of lead found recently in Ithaca schools.
Because lead-based pipes were not banned until 1986, schools whose water is supplied by pipes made before then could contain lead, Schumer said.
“It’s disturbing that Flint (Michigan) may have been just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to toxic lead in our kids’ drinking water – and the lead contamination in Ithaca … only underscores this concern,” Schumer said. “Right now there is a yawning gap in our lead-testing protocols: at the federal level we do not require or support lead testing in schools. This legislation solves that.”
According to a report by the Associated Press, water samples cost an average of $35 each to send to the Environmental Protection Agency, and multiple samples are required for each test.
Locally, the Corning-Painted Post school district announced recently that lead testing would begin this month at all of its schools, the administration building and bus garage.
The district will be sending home a letter about the testing to parents within the next few days, C-PP Public Information Coordinator Bill Cameron said Wednesday.
The testing is proactive.
“We’re going through testing, and if anything shows up, then we will take action,” he said.
Superintendent Michael Ginalski scheduled the testing in advance of the elementary school renovation projects that will begin this summer.
“As we begin our elementary capital project having this information will help us determine how we want to handle current water stations and sinks in the buildings, and we want to be proactive in identifying any potential areas of need while current construction is underway,” Ginalski said in the letter to parents.
Results from the tests are expected in April, Ginalski said.