High levels of lead shuts down water fountains at several Long Island schools

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EAST NORTHPORT, N.Y. – Water fountains at six Long Island schools were shutdown after testing positive for high levels of lead.

Twelve water stations at those schools had lead levels above the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, Northport-East Northport Schools superintendent Robert L. Banzer said in an online memo.

Within hours of the report, water stations at the following schools were shut down: Dickinson Avenue Elementary, East Northport Middle School, Northport High School, Norwood Avenue Elementary, Ocean Avenue Elementary and Pulaski Road Elementary.

On Tuesday, PIX 11 News went to Ocean Avenue Elementary and met with Victor Vitale and his 5-year-old daughter Emma. Dad was waking his daughter home as he does every day. Vitale said that the infrastructure of the buildings, all over 50 years old, according to the school district, lends itself to some of the test results producing excessive lead.

"Just it being there is not frustrating but alarming," Vitale said.

While some of the fountains posted high levels as a result of not being used often, the fact remains there was still a concentration of lead in the water. It should be noted that lead is a neurotoxin that has been linked to hyperactivity as well as intellectual impairment, according to research.

"You are concerned naturally because of the obvious awareness we have of lead in the water," Vitale said.

The district is investigating the source of the lead and are seeking remedies, including replacements or repairs.

Students and staff who are impacted by the shutdown will be provided with alternative water sources.

For guidelines on reducing lead levels, refer to the city's Department of Health's website.

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