A top education official Sunday said parents shouldn’t worry about crisis-level lead in local schools’ drinking water — but a water-treatment expert and educator said the city is making a potentially dangerous mistake. Officials recently found lead levels in school faucets and bubblers far exceeding safe levels.
Running offending fixtures for a few minutes makes them “virtually lead-free,” Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose told John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” on AM 970 radio. But simply opening the faucet for a few minutes is not enough, according to Marc Edwards, a civil-engineering professor at Virginia Tech, who said the only safe bet is to removing lead pipes from schools, install water filters or switch to bottled water.
“Over the last few years, we’ve learned that this problem of lead in drinking water is like a game of Russian roulette,” Edwards said. “Until all lead is removed from plumbing, a hazard exists. The only question is how bad the hazard exists.”
The Department of Education began replacing faulty fixtures after it was revealed earlier this year that water from one in 20 public-school taps had lead levels far exceeding the federal threshold of 15 parts per billion — with one faucet […]