Governor Christie Proposes $10 Million Statewide School Lead Testing Program for Drinking Water
Governor Chris Christie recently announced that all of the approximately 3,000 New Jersey public schools must test every drinking water fountain for lead. Testing will begin this spring, with the goal of having every drinking water fountain tested by the start of the 2016-2017 school year in September. The findings will be made available to the public. All school districts will be able to seek reimbursement for the costs of the new school testing mandate from the state. This announcement is the result of 30 schools in Newark that tested positive for lead. For more information about Christie's plan for water testing, please click here.
Lead dissolved in drinking water is colorless, tasteless and odorless, so it is hard to detect without testing. The only way to tell if lead is present in drinking water is to have it tested by a New Jersey certified laboratory. Consistent sampling procedures should be performed by a trained field technician to ensure the results meet Quality Assurance/Quality Control specifications. The results should be compared to the Federal Safe Drinking Water Acts' action level of 15 parts per billion.
If it's determined that the water is contaminated, the source of the contamination needs to be identified. Lead and other metal contaminants can leach into drinking water from either public water supply pipes or pipes and fixtures within a building. Contamination of drinking water can occur when it's moving through the public water supply or when it's sitting in pipes within a building.