Saugerties school officials are hoping to avoid having to pay twice for water testing at the district’s six schools and the administration building. Governor Andrew Cuomo recently ordered all schools statewide to conduct water testing looking for the presence of lead. The order came after state legislators approved a measure requiring the testing.
The legislators’ action came in response to the massive problems in the Flint, Michigan water system last year.
Saugerties schools superintendent Seth Turner had the water tested in all the district’s buildings last April because of concerns about drinking-water safety for school children and district employees. He doesn’t want to have to pay to do it again six months later.
At the time, Turner said, “When I started to hear about those issues, I just thought, ‘Wait a second, we take care of kids. We don’t want our kids to be exposed to anything,’” Turner said. “Even when I initially called for the testing of the water systems, a few people said, ‘You’re opening up Pandora’s box,’ and I said, ‘Good, open it up. I want to know. Because if there is a problem, let’s go fix the problem.’”
Those tests, whose results were reported in June, came back showing no problems with the potability of the Saugerties water.
Lissa Jilck, district business manager, said the district is working with Ulster BOCES officials “to make sure everything is in order,” so the district won’t have to redo the tests.
How much did last spring’s tests cost the district? Because of how busy everyone is with the start of the new school year, Jilck said, she was not able to come up with that number right away.
Village water department superintendent Michael Hopf has said that all tests done on water at the Blue Mountain Reservoir, the source of most of the school district’s water, have never shown high levels of lead.