Gottheimer Releases Report on Lead Water in Schools in NJ’s Fifth Congressional District

Oct 05, 2019
Press

Continues call for transparency about testing & results, so parents have full information, including central database

12 percent of NJ-5 school districts not reporting lead water results, as required by state law, according to search

Gottheimer Lead Free Schools Act will bring transparency nationwide

GLEN ROCK, NJ – Today, Saturday, October 5, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) released a new report, The State of Lead Water in Schools in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District, which analyzes every school district within the Fifth District for their compliance with New Jersey’s lead water reporting law.

View the report HERE.

“I believe it is essential that parents, teachers, and administrators have all of the information at their fingertips about lead levels in their schools, so they are well-informed about potential health issues their children may face, and communities can take necessary measures,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “As I’ve noted repeatedly over the last few years, whether intentional or not, many schools in my District and in our state are not meeting the obligations of the law. It is essential that all schools test, report, and share testing information in a clear and easily-accessible manner for parents.”

Gottheimer continued, “We all need to be partners in this effort: schools, the State, and our communities. I’m going to continue working with parents and schools throughout the Fifth District to ensure parents have all the information they need.  This is too important of a health issue to ignore.”

Gottheimer’s report is based on publicly available information found on each school district’s website

As of 2016, New Jersey law N.J.A.C. 6A:26-12.4(g)) requires that all schools test for lead at least every six years, and that schools make all test results available at the school facility and on the school district’s website. Gottheimer’s office scoured district websites to find information.

This report’s findings are a result of an assessment of the websites of all the Fifth District’s 85 school districts, from Bergen, Sussex, Warren, & Passaic Counties.

  • 12 percent of school districts do not report lead test results, meaning parents do not know whether their children’s school drinking water is safe.
  • Of the school districts that do report lead tests, 52 districts indicated at least one outlet within their system had a problem with lead water. That is more than half of all the school districts in the Fifth District. It is unclear if all districts addressed the issues.

Gottheimer released the following conclusion within the report

  1. If school districts have not already done so, based on feedback from many concerned parents, it is critical that all school districts conduct lead tests in their schools as soon as possible.
  2. School districts should also make all test results widely available in an easy-to-find place on school district websites, in plain speak, so that all New Jersey parents have access to this critical information.
  3. New Jersey and all states should create a central database that schools report into annually with easy-to-access results for parent
  4. The State of New Jersey should strictly enforce the law that is on the books. As this report shows, without full enforcement, lead water disclosure laws will not have the intended and necessary effect.
  5. Lastly, schools should also be required to test their water for lead, and disclose findings, more than the current requirement once every six years.

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