After elevated levels of lead were found in 9 of the 223 water sources in the South Orange-Maplewood School District, the district is hosting a “Community Q&A on Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water” on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 10 a.m. at Seth Boyden Demonstration School, 274 Boyden Ave, Maplewood, NJ. Free childcare will be available at the meeting.
Below is the latest update from district regarding the lead levels (provided on June 13, 2017 by Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Ramos):
Dear SOMSD Community:
This morning, Board of Education members and SOMSD Administrators met with town health officials and the district’s physician to discuss the elevated levels of lead in 9 district water sources. We have also been in contact with the Operations Project Manager for New Jersey American Water, which supplies water to both South Orange and Maplewood, and with local pediatricians. We appreciate the collaboration and community support as we work to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.
Remediation Already Completed/In Progress:
- All affected water sources have been turned off and covered. The district will be replacing these fixtures with new equipment and filtration systems.
- Each of the affected schools has bottled water available for students and staff. The district will continue to make sure that these schools have 2 bottles of water per day per person available.
- Central Office Administrators and Board of Education members met 6/13 with local health officials and the district’s physician to determine the next best steps to ensure the health and well-being of our students and staff.
- We are retesting all 9 water sources that had elevated levels, to re-confirm the lead levels and to determine if some of the results were anomalous. . The results of retesting are likely to take at least a week.
We realize that many families and staff members may have questions – both technical questions about the testing itself, and also questions about the potential health impact of exposure to lead in drinking water. We are in the process of planning a community forum where you can hear directly from experts, and ask questions. We have tentatively scheduled this Forum for Saturday, June 17 at 10 am at Seth Boyden Elementary School, and hope to be able to confirm the date tomorrow.
In the meantime, we have posted information and resources provided by our partners in both towns and in NJAW on the District Website.
Dr. John J. Ramos, Sr.