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Sweet Home's Glendale tops new list of schools with high levels of lead in water

At Sweet Home's Glendale Elementary School, more than 40 percent of its water spigots exceeded the state threshold for safe water - 15 parts per billion.

That included three drinking fountains that tested between 10 and 200 times higher for hazardous lead levels, according to water testing results.

The drinking fountain in Glendale's Room 109-1, for instance, had 3,110 ppb, data shows.

Sweet Home was among more than a dozen additional school districts around Western New York to release in recent days results of lead tests of water from drinking fountains, sinks and other spigots.

Sweet Home wasn't the only school district with elevated levels of lead in water. Here are a few others:

  • The kitchen sinks at three of the five West Seneca elementary schools where results were released tested above state action levels, including one at Clinton Elementary where a reading of 89.2 ppb was reported.
  • Lancaster posted its results this morning. Data revealed a water fountain at Central Avenue Elementary School had a lead level of 65 ppm, which is more than four times above the state's action level. Another water fountain at Como Park Elementary tested at 51.9 ppm, data showed. Those were in addition to sinks and other receptacles at its schools that also tested high.
  • In Maryvale, results showed nearly one-quarter of water sources at the district's primary school tested high, including 10 room sinks or water fountains. None were kitchen spigots or hall water fountains. There were lesser numbers at the intermediate school where 11 out of 57 sources tested high for lead. None were drinking fountains.
  • A tap to a pressure cooker in the kitchen at the main building in the Akron Central School District revealed there were 445 parts per billion of lead.

Outlets testing above state action levels were taken out of service pending repair, according to officials in the respective school districts.

While some dealt with higher lead levels, others, like Smallwood Drive Elementary School in Amherst and the Buffalo Public Schools, reported limited problems.

Only three of 133 samples collected at Smallwood Drive Elementary School in Amherst came back above the state's hazardous action level of 15 ppb of lead.

They included three receptacles district officials characterized as "unused" like a handsink in a girls' restroom, a storeroom sink and an outside hose bib.

All had readings under 100 ppb, results showed.

In Buffalo, less than three percent of its 1,562 outlets came back above the state's action level.

There were 39 outlets that fit into that category.

The district originally stated at a press conference Tuesday that 68 samples were higher than the state standard at 18 of its schools, but results showed only 39 were elevated.

Just five of those involved drinking fountains.

And, five of the 18 schools reporting tested clear of lead, results showed.

Here is a look at details from the 18 schools reported:

  • Public School 6, Buffalo Elementary School of Technology: all 78 outlets tested "below the action level."
  • Central Registration: 2 out of 23 tested above the action level, the highest of which was a drinking fountain in Room 114 with 41.2 ppb of lead.
  • Public School 17 ECC: all 74 outlets tested "below the action level."
  • Public School 19 Native American Magnet: 3 out of 49 tested above the action level, the highest of which was a faucet in Room 15 with 32 ppb of lead.
  • Public School 27 Hillery Park: all 120 outlets tested "below the action level."
  • Public School 54 Dr. George Blackman ECC: all 23 outlets tested "below the action level."
  • Public School 64 Frederick Law Olmsted: 1 out of 68 tested above the action level. It was a faucet in the gym office that had 17.6 ppb of lead.
  • School 72 Lorraine Elementary: 2 out of 93 outlets tested above the action level, the highest of which was a faucet on the third-floor men's faculty bathroom with 19 ppb.
  • Public School 74 Hamlin Park Claude and Ouida Clapp Academy: 1 out of 84 tested above the action level. It was a faculty room faucet with 15.9 ppb of lead.
  • Public School 76 Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy: all 85 outlets tested "below the action level."
  • Public School 79 William Grabiarz School of Excellence: 2 out of 150 sinks tested above the action level, including a cafeteria handwashing sink with a district-high 101.9 ppb of lead.
  • Public School 80 Highgate Heights: 1 out of 57 outlets tested high. It was a faucet in the third-floor cafeteria at a dishwashing sink. Lead results were 24.5 ppb.
  • Public School 81: 1 out of 77 outlets tested high. It was an art room sink in Room 217. Lead results showed 16.1 ppb there.
  • Public School 94 West Hertel Academy: 6 out of 111 outlets tested above the action level, the highest of which was a water fountain in a custodial garage with 61.1 ppb of lead.
  • Public School 95 Waterfront Elementary: 11 out of 207 outlets tested high, the highest of which is a faucet in a girls' bathroom with 92.2 ppb of lead.
  • Public School 97 Harvey Austin: 4 out of 103 outlets tested high. The highest was a faucet in a cafeteria sink with 52 ppb of lead.
  • Public School 156: 4 out of 93 outlets tested high, including a district-high 1,320 ppb of lead in an upper-level drinking fountain on the third-floor's north side.
  • Public School 198 at 202: 1 out of 67 outlets tested above the action level. A faucet in Room 39's kitchen serving area by the window had 16.1 ppb of lead.

Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash acknowledged that was just a portion of the results from the district.

"When all the results are in, we'll give another update," Cash said.


Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash waits with Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein for a moment on the podium Friday afternoon to announce a collaborative partnership to combat lead poisoning in children. (T.J. Pignataro/Buffalo News)

The superintendent was part of an afternoon press conference held at the Delavan-Grider Community Center with city, county, school and community officials to announce a collaborative "Wipe Out Lead" partnership designed to fight lead poisoning and make it more of a priority in the region.

The "new lead poisoning awareness and education efforts" will include a billboard campaign across Buffalo with other messages on 120 NFTA buses as well as flyers that will be available at more than 30 community centers.

"This is not just a county problem, this is not just a city problem, it's not just a school district problem, a Common Council problem or a Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo problem," said Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. "This is an issue as a community we must all work on together."

Here's a running list of those districts in the region who have found lead in their water, and the links to either the superintendent's letter to parents or testing data:

Erie County

Akron Central

Alden Central

Amherst Central

Buffalo Public Schools

Clarence Central

Depew Union Free

Hamburg Central

Holland Central

Iroquois Central

Lackawanna City Schools

Lancaster Central Schools

Lake Shore Central

Maryvale Union Free

North Collins Central

Orchard Park Central

Sweet Home Central

West Seneca Central

Williamsville Central

Niagara County

Lewiston-Porter Central

Lockport City Schools

Newfane Central

Wilson Central

Orleans/Genesee/Wyoming counties

Southern Tier

Allegany-Limestone Central

Bemus Point Central

Forestville Central

Fredonia Central

Pine Valley Central

Portville Central

Randolph Central

Silver Creek Central

School Districts not yet reporting results online:

Albion Central

Andover Central

Barker Central

Belfast Central

Bolivar-Richburg Central

Brocton Central

Cassadaga Valley Central

Cattaraugus Little Valley Central

Chautauqua Lake Central

Cheektowaga Central

Cheektowaga-Sloan Union Free

Cleveland Hill Union Free

Clymer Central

Cuba Rushford Central

Dunkirk City Schools

East Aurora Union Free

Eden Central

Ellicottville Central

Falconer Central

Fillmore Central

Franklinville Central

Frewsburg Central

Friendship Central

Frontier Central

Genesee Valley Central

Gowanda Central

Grand Island Central

Hinsdale Central

Jamestown Public Schools


Lyndonville Central

Medina Central

Olean City Schools

Panama Central

Pioneer Central

Randolph Academy

Ripley Central

Salamanca City Central

Scio Central

Sherman Central

Southwestern Central

Springville-Griffith Institute

Tonawanda City Schools

Wellsville Central

Westfield Central

West Valley Central

Whitesville Central

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