New York State Legislature Passes Bill to Improve School Drinking Water Safety
On June 9, 2021, both the New York State Senate and Assembly unanimously passed a landmark lead in school drinking water bill. Senate Bill S2122 would lower the New York State action level for lead in school drinking water to 5 parts per billion (ppb), from the 15-ppb standard set in an earlier 2016 law. The bill also provides 100 percent reimbursement of remediation expenses through water infrastructure programs.
The bill text states, “The data from the first round of lead testing in schools under New York's landmark 2016 law demonstrate that our school children are drinking water that contains lead. More than 82[%] of public schools reported at least one drinking water tap that exceeded the action level, currently set in regulation at 0.015 milligrams per liter” (15-ppb).
The new bill would also make testing triennial (formerly “periodic”) and would remove some exemptions from testing requirements, including a former waiver for schools considered “lead-free” by federal Safe Drinking Water Act definitions.
See the full bill text at www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/S2122.
SB S2122, with advocacy from many partners including American Academy of Pediatrics, New York State PTA, National Resources Defense Council, WE ACT, New York League of Conservation Voters, NYS United Teachers, Healthy Schools Network, and more, now awaits NYS Governor Cuomo’s signature.