Dear North Hunterdon-Voorhees Community,
Our school system is committed to protecting student, teacher, and staff health. To protect our community and be in compliance with the Department of Education regulations, North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District tested our high schools’ drinking water for lead.
In accordance with the Department of Education regulations, North Hunterdon and Voorhees High Schools will implement immediate remedial measures for any drinking water outlet with a result greater than the action level of 15 µg/l (parts per billion [ppb]). This includes turning off the outlet unless it is determined the location must remain on for non-drinking purposes. In these cases, a “DO NOT DRINK – SAFE FOR HANDWASHING ONLY” sign will be posted.
Results of our Testing
Following instructions given in technical guidance developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, we completed a plumbing profile for each of the buildings within the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District. Through this effort, we identified and tested all drinking water and food preparation outlets. Of the 49 samples taken at North Hunterdon and 41 samples taken at Voorhees, all but nine tested below the lead action level established by the US Environmental Protection Agency for lead in drinking water (15 µg/l [ppb]).
The table below identifies the drinking water outlets that tested above the 15 µg/l for lead, the actual lead level, and what temporary remedial action the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District has taken to reduce the levels of lead at these locations.
|Sample Location||First Draw Result in µg/l (ppb)||Remedial Action|
|North Hunterdon – Kitchen-S-1st draw||38||Taken offline|
|North Hunterdon-Nurse’s Office-S-1st draw||16||Taken offline|
|North Hunterdon-Nurse’s Office-S-1st draw||27||Taken offline|
|North Hunterdon-Library Office-S-1st draw||26||Taken offline|
|North Hunterdon-Room 203-S-1st draw||82||Taken offline|
|Voorhees-Room 244-WC-1st draw||42.7||Taken offline|
|Voorhees-Library office-S-1st draw||15.5||Taken offline|
|Voorhees-Room 212-S-1st draw||15||Taken offline|
|Voorhees-Science office-S-1st draw||23.4||Taken offline|
As indicated in the table, all nine locations were immediately taken offline once we received the results and are not being used. These locations are not frequented by students and are not drinking water locations. A second draw has been taken from these nine locations to see if we have remedied the issue. We are currently awaiting those results. If the levels are still too high, we will take further steps to make sure these levels are brought below the 15 µg/l for lead so that all of our school facilities are safe for students, teachers and visitors.
Health Effects of Lead
High levels of lead in drinking water can cause health problems. Lead is most dangerous for pregnant women, infants, and children under 6 years of age. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. Exposure to high levels of lead during pregnancy contributes to low birth weight and developmental delays in infants. In young children, lead exposure can lower IQ levels, affect hearing, reduce attention span, and hurt school performance. At very high levels, lead can even cause brain damage. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults.
How Lead Enters our Water
Lead is unusual among drinking water contaminants in that it seldom occurs naturally in water supplies like groundwater, rivers and lakes. Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in the water distribution system and in building plumbing. These materials include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass, and chrome-plated brass faucets. In 1986, Congress banned the use of lead solder containing greater than 0.2% lead, and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes and other plumbing materials. However, even the lead in plumbing materials meeting these new requirements is subject to corrosion. When water stands in lead pipes or plumbing systems containing lead for several hours or more, the lead may dissolve into the drinking water. This means the first water drawn from the tap in the morning may contain fairly high levels of lead.
Lead in Drinking Water
Lead in drinking water, although rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning can significantly increase a person’s total lead exposure, particularly the exposure of children under the age of 6. EPA estimates that drinking water can make up 20% or more of a person’s total exposure to lead.
For More Information
A copy of the test results is available in our central office for inspection by the public, including students, teachers, other school personnel, and parents, and can be viewed between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and are also available on our website at www.nhvweb.net. For more information about water quality in our schools, contact Joseph Bilotti at the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, 908-735-2846 ext. 5167.
For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s Web site at www.epa.gov/lead, call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD, or contact your health care provider.
If you are concerned about lead exposure at this facility or in your home, you may want to ask your health care providers about testing children to determine levels of lead in their blood.
Superintendent of Schools
Click link for PDF file – Lead Results letter 8-23-17