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Elevated levels of lead found in water in Lackawanna schools

Parents of children in Lackawanna city schools received a letter Thursday informing them of elevated levels of lead in water from multiple schools.

The letter from Acting Superintendent Lisa A. Almasi states: "Tests conducted at Truman, Martin Road, High School, Middle School and McKinley showed an elevated level of lead in water samples from a variety of sources, including drinking fountains and sink faucets."

The superintendent stressed that school district officials received the water testing results only this past Friday. She stressed that she immediately ordered all affected sources of water flowing into those five schools to be shut off until lead levels can be reduced to scientifically acceptable levels.

David Joyce, a member of the school district's Board of Education, Thursday evening told The Buffalo News the board has been "kept fully informed" of the efforts to deal with the lead problem and corrected the situation.

Neither School District Board President Leonard F. Kowalski or school board attorney John P. Gaughan could be reached to comment Thursday night. Ms. Almasi was also unavailable to comment.

Capt. Joseph Leo, chief of detectives of the Lackawanna Police Department, said law enforcement officials stand ready to assist school officials in any way they need help.

In Almasi's letter to parents, she stressed that as a precaution, all sinks at the affected schools have been posted with warning signs and all drinking fountains have already been shut off. Follow-up testing is already underway as the effort continues to try to pinpoint the source of the increased lead.

Almasi stressed that federal environmental officials believe lead in drinking water comes mainly from corroding faucets, fittings and pipes containing lead.

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