Education

New Jersey Schools Required to Test All Faucets for Lead Within a Year

By Denisa R. Superville — July 15, 2016 1 min read

The New Jersey Board of Education will require all school districts that haven’t yet tested their water for lead to do so within the year and to make those results public.

The agency passed the new regulations on Wednesday.

The regulations followed Gov. Chris Christie’s announcement in May that he will require all schools to test their drinking water for lead annually and to publicly report those results. Christie also asked the state legislature for $10 million to help the districts to pay for expenses related to the testing.

All of this came after the March discovery of elevated lead levels in the drinking water at some Newark schools. That discovery prompted the district to shut off drinking water fountains at 30 schools. Subsequent reviews revealed that the district had been taking some lead-remediation steps for many years, though the public appeared largely unaware of it.

After undertaking further tests, the city offered free lead testing to its youngest students.

Northjersey.com reported that even before the state board of education passed the new regulations on Wednesday many districts had already started voluntarily testing the water. Other New Jersey districts, including in Teaneck, Bergenfield, and Fort Lee, have also reported finding elevated lead levels in some schools. (Since the Flint water-contamination crisis, schools have come under increased scrutiny to test their drinking water.)

According to the Associated Press, the new state rules will require districts to test water used for drinking and cooking at least once every six years. The districts must also send written notices of the results to parents, the AP reported.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.