As School Year Begins, Senator Gianaris Introduces Legislation Mandating Water Quality Testing at Schools, Parks

Gianaris Bill Aims To Protect Children from Lead Exposure at Public Facilities

QUEENS, N.Y. – Senator Michael Gianaris introduced legislation (S9160) mandating lead inspections of sinks and water fountains at schools and parks throughout New York State.

“Too many children are exposed to lead and other harmful substances at public places where they should be safe,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “This proposal would reduce the risk of exposure and ensure our schools and parks are not doing damage to our kids.”

The legislation requires that schools and parks test for potable water every three years to determine if there is any contamination. If elevated lead levels are found, the location would have 90 days to remedy the situation. Results would be submitted to the state and displayed online for public review.

A law enacted in 2016 required schools to test for lead in water every five years; no such mandate exists for public parks. Senator Gianaris’ legislation increases the scope of testing to include parks, requires testing occur more frequently and creates an open data disclosure of the information.

In 2016, the New York Times reported  83% of New York City school buildings had at least one fixture contaminated with lead. The schools with the highest rates of contamination were found in Queens, with one school having fixtures with more than 40 times the limit of lead found in tests.