School District Announces Lead Levels in Water

School District Announces Lead Levels in Water

Of 167 samples taken, all but four tested below the lead action level established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for lead in drinking water. Three of those four were found at the Ocean City Intermediate School.

The letter below from School Business Administrator Timothy Kelley outlines test results for lead in the drinking water at the Ocean City intermediate, primary and high schools. For the tables detailing findings from the report visit

Dear Ocean City School 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, the Ocean City School District (the District) tested our schools’ drinking water for lead.

In accordance with the state Department of Education regulations, the district 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]) as noted below.

Testing Results

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 District.

Through this effort, we identified and tested all drinking water and food preparation outlets.

Of the 167 samples taken, all but 4 tested below the lead action level established by the US Environmental Protection Agency for lead in drinking water (15 µg/l [ppb]).

Water was allowed to stay motionless in each facility for a minimum of eight hours prior to sampling.

After this time of inactivity, an “initial draw” sample was collected from the first water to come out of the outlet.

After the initial draw sample was collected, water was allowed to flush for 30 seconds, and a second “flush” sample was collected.

The table in (linked letter) identifies the drinking water outlets that tested above the 15 µg/l for lead, the actual lead level, and what temporary remedial action the Ocean City School District has taken to reduce the levels of lead at these locations.

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% r 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 p.m. and are also available on our website at

For more information about water quality in our schools, contact Henry Rodrique, Director of Facilities, at 609-399-1290 x6502.

For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s Web site at, 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.


School Business Administrator Timothy E. Kelley