Liberty conducts voluntary water test

One water fountain turned off as a precaution; all other fixtures deemed fine

In response to state- and nation-wide concerns about lead in drinking water, the district voluntarily conducted a water test in April. Orange-Ulster BOCES collected water samples from various sources throughout each of Liberty’s three schools, including drinking fountains, classrooms and cafeterias, to test for lead.

During sample collection, Orange-Ulster BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services) recommended that a single antiquated water fountain on the third floor in Liberty Elementary School be shut off. The water fountain was built with a lead fitting that could potentially seep lead into the water.

The fountain was immediately shut off. In its official report, Orange-Ulster BOCES reported that while the district’s water samples were within normal ranges, trace amounts of lead were detected in samples from the one antiquated fountain.

The piping surrounding the fountain was deemed lead-free by Orange-Ulster BOCES, which pinpoints the water fountain as the only source of lead, Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Silver said. The fountain will remain turned off until it and its plumbing can be removed and replaced. Although not considered to pose a threat, a second fountain on the third floor will be replaced so the two units match.

No lead was detected in any other schools or any other water sources at Liberty Elementary School.
Although there is no legal requirement for school districts to test for lead in drinking water, the district tested proactively to ensure students’ safety, especially in light of recent national and local news surrounding elevated lead levels in drinking water, Dr. William Silver said.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead in drinking water is rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning. For more information about prevention and risks to lead exposure, please contact your family physician or log on to the EPA’s website.

You may also contact Dr. Silver at (845) 292-6990 and speak with his secretary, Tania DeFrank.

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