Lead Drinking Water Sampling

Lead Drinking Water Sampling
Posted on 05/18/2017

May 18, 2017

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff:

The Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District is committed to protecting the health of District students and staff.  As required by the Department of Education regulations, all drinking water outlets in our facilities must be sampled for lead.  The Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District has scheduled the lead drinking water sampling for both Ramapo and Indian Hills High Schools for Saturday, May 20, 2017. 

Why Test School Drinking Water for Lead?

Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters the body from drinking water or other sources.  Lead is most dangerous for pregnant women, infants, and children under 6 years old. 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.

Lead is rarely found in the source water; rather it enters the drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in the service line or interior plumbing.  These materials include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass and chrome-brass faucets, and in some cases, pipes made of lead that connect buildings to water mains (service lines).  Since 1986, all plumbing materials must be “lead free”.  The law currently allows plumbing materials to be up to 0.25 percent lead to be labeled as “lead free”.  However, prior to January 4, 2014, “lead free” allowed up to 8 percent lead content of the wetted surfaces of plumbing products including those labeled National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified. 

What Actions We Are Taking?

Prior to sampling, the Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District developed a Lead Sampling Plan for both Indian Hills and Ramapo High Schools and conducted a plumbing profile.  The purpose of the plumbing profile was to identify all drinking water outlets and evaluate the plumbing materials of the school to determine if lead solder, lead pipes or a lead service line are present.

Ramapo and Indian Hills High Schools lead sampling plan can be found on uur district website at:


All drinking water outlets in Ramapo and Indian Hills High Schools will be sampled on Saturday, May 20, 2017.  We anticipate receiving the results from our laboratory within three weeks of sampling.  Upon receiving the sample results, the Ramapo Indian Hills school District will inform you if any of the drinking water outlets had a result greater than the action level of 15 µg/l (parts per billion [ppb]) and will post all of the results on our website at http://www.rih.org/administration/facilities/district_water_sampling_plan/. The results will be used to assist in the prioritization of future water testing for lead in accordance with Ramapo and Indian Hills High Schools Lead Sampling Plan.

The Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District will also implement immediate remedial measures for any drinking water outlet with a result greater than the action level of 15 µg/l (ppb).  This will include 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.

How Can I Learn More?

For more information about water quality in our schools, please contact Paulinus Egu, District Coordinator of Facilities and Operations, at 201-416-8100, Ext. 3816.  For information about water quality and sampling for lead at home, contact your local water supplier or refer to the Department of Environmental Protection’s website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/dwc-lead-schools.html.


Beverly MacKay

Superintendent of Schools