Water Quality Testing

In 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law requiring schools to test water sources for lead every five years. This testing is now a regular part of our health and safety protocols. Outlets that should be sampled may be located anywhere on school property including external outlets (hose bibs) if the outlet may be used for drinking or cooking (including food preparation).¬†Although science/art room sinks and dishwashing sinks may be tested in some cases, these can be identified as “non-applicable” outlets that do not necessarily need to be sampled.

What happens when a sample indicates a lead level above the state’s action level (currently 15 parts per billion)

The outlet is taken offline until a remediation action plan is initiated.
The results are reported to the Department of Health, school staff and students families.

What are some of the remediation actions?

Remediation actions can include: permanent removal of an outlet; Outlet replacement; pipe replacement; flushing; filtration; education; and signage.

Niskayuna 2021 Water Testing Results by School & Remediation Plans

Birchwood Elementary School Results – Spring 2021

Additional information and remediation plan: Signs have been placed on sinks indicating that the water should be used for hand washing only. Given the atypical nature of water use in our schools during 2020-21, these outlets will be resampled. Water fountains in particular have been offline this year due to COVID precautions. Any outlets that need to be remediated after resampling will be addressed and tested again.

Craig Elementary School Results – Spring 2021

Additional information and remediation plan: None of the outlets that tested above the “action level” are meant for drinking. Signs have been placed on sinks indicating that the water should be used for hand washing only. Given the atypical nature of water use in our schools during 2020-21, these outlets will be resampled. Any outlets that need to be remediated after resampling will be addressed and tested again.

Hillside Elementary School Results – Spring 2021

Additional information and remediation plan: None of the outlets that tested above the “action level” are meant for drinking. Signs have been placed on sinks indicating that the water should be used for hand washing only. Given the atypical nature of water use in our schools during 2020-21, these outlets will be resampled. Any outlets that exceed the action level after resampling will be addressed through remediation and/or permanent signage.

Glencliff Elementary School Results – Spring 2021

Additional information and remediation plan: None of the outlets that tested above the “action level” are meant for drinking. Signs have been placed on sinks indicating that the water should be used for hand washing only. Given the atypical nature of water use in our schools during 2020-21, these outlets will be resampled. Any outlets that need to be remediated after resampling will be addressed and tested again.

Rosendale Elementary School Results – Spring 2021

Signs have been placed on sinks indicating that the water should be used for hand washing only. Given the atypical nature of water use in our schools during 2020-21, these outlets will be resampled. Any outlets that need to be remediated after resampling will be addressed and tested again.

Iroquois Middle School Results – Spring 2021

Additional information and remediation plan: None of the outlets that tested above the “action level” are meant for drinking. Given the atypical nature of water usage in our schools during 2020-21 and the fact that water is not regularly used in many of these locations, these outlets will either be resampled and/or labeled with permanent signage that the water should only be used for hand washing.

Van Antwerp Middle School Results – Spring 2021

Additional information and remediation plan: None of the outlets that tested above the “action level” are meant for drinking. However, given the atypical nature of water usage in our schools during 2020-21 and the fact that water is not regularly used in many of these locations, these outlets will either be resampled and/or labeled with permanent signage that the water should only be used for hand washing.

Niskayuna High School Results – Spring 2021

Additional information and remediation plan: None of the outlets that tested above the “action level” are meant for drinking. Signs have been placed on sinks indicating that the water should be used for hand washing only. Given the atypical nature of water use in our schools during 2020-21, these outlets will be resampled. Some of them are no longer needed and will be taken offline. Any outlets that need to be remediated after resampling will be addressed and tested again.

2016 Water Testing

In the spring and summer of 2016, drinking fountains and kitchen sinks used for food preparation throughout the district were tested for lead. Three sources across the district exceeded the action level of 15 parts per billion and were remediated, re-tested, and are back in service. In September of 2016, a new state law went into effect requiring testing of all school sources of water that are “currently used or potentially used for drinking or cooking purposes.”

If you are having trouble accessing any of the above files, please contact the district’s Communications Office at (518) 377-4666, ext. 50707 or communications@niskyschools.org and arrangements will be made to provide you with an electronic or hard copy of the desired document.

Action Level and Remediation Plans

The state established a lead action level of 15 parts per billion (also referred to as micrograms of lead per liter). If a sample from a water outlet exceeds this level, schools must take steps to prevent the use of the outlet for drinking or cooking purposes until it is remediated and follow-up testing confirms it is no longer above the action level.

Niskayuna Remediation Actions

  • Two kitchen faucets at Glencliff: These initially exceeded the action level in samples taken in April and May 2016. The fixtures were replaced and supply lines were replaced with plastic piping and they subsequently tested below the action level.
  • Kitchen faucet in a faculty area in the Student Support Services Office at Niskayuna High School. This initially exceeded the action level. Plastic supply lines were installed and it subsequently tested below the action level.
  • The results received for the fall of 2016 testing of primarily exterior house outlets, bathroom sinks and science lab sinks indicated elevated levels for the following number of fixtures by school: Birchwood (8); Craig (3); Glencliff (4); Hillside (2); Rosendale (3) Iroquois (14); Van Antwerp (5); and Niskayuna High School (4). Signs were posted at each of these locations indicating that the water should not be used for drinking. These signs will remain in place until these outlets can be remediated and re-tested. The fixtures will be replaced and the outlets will be re-tested.

Lead-free buildings

Lead-free, as defined by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, is based on the lead content of plumbing materials. Federal laws enacted in 1986, and updated in 2011, limit the amount of lead that can be used in new plumbing and fixtures. A building can be deemed lead-free if it was built after Jan. 4, 2014, or a New York State licensed Professional Engineer or Architect certifies it to be lead-free. Under New York’s new law, school districts are not required to conduct water testing in buildings designated as lead-free. The district has no buildings designated as lead-free, as defined by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

A resource for more information about lead in drinking water

More information and links to additional resources can be found on the EPA website under “Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water”.