Traces of lead found in Brighton schools

     Elevated levels of lead were found inside three Brighton school buildings.

The district says it made the discovery during routine environmental testing. The elevations were found in three separate buildings – the administration building, Brighton High School, and Brookside which is home to the Montessori School of Rochester.

After routine water tests back in December, results showed lead levels of up to five times the federal guidelines were found in the water of some devices. Brighton school officials tell News10NBC the high amount of lead comes from the devices and not the water supply. They're continuing to replace old drinking fountains with new ones and letting the staff and students know what fountains and faucets they can and can’t use. But students we spoke to say everyone is in shock.

Brianna DiPilato: "What did you think when you found that out?"
Dylan Holcomb, 10th grade: "I heard in Spanish class it was kind of shocking especially because it's not regulated at all. But I was glad to hear that Brighton did test since it's not required, but it's very concerning since the majority of the students do use the fountains."

"I'm like why is there lead in our water cause -- you know -- so many students in the school get water from the place," says ninth grader Kren Singh.

Superintendent of Brighton Central Schools Kevin McGowen tells us -- after voluntarily testing the water in the district -- certain devices kept coming back showing high levels of lead.

McGowen says, "We consulted with the health department at that point in time, both county and state, and the Monroe County Water Authority to ensure that it also wasn't a source issue -- which it wasn't."

Fixtures like older drinking fountains and faucets have now been replaced with newer ones.

McGowen says, "Just particular fixtures -- it has to do with the age of devices. It's an issue many people probably have in their homes as well this is very common."

This comes on the heels of Senator Charles Schumer's proposal to have federal legislation help fund regular lead-testing in schools across upstate New York.

Sen. Schumer says, "What we've seen here in Brighton, I think, we're going to see more of. And the legislation we introduced for the federal government to pay for testing is a really good idea."

Superintendent McGowen tells News10NBC now that the proper actions have been taken. The water is safe to use and to drink.

Sen. Schumer says, "I would use the devices and as importantly to me my own children are in these schools and I would have them drink the water."

It's important to note here that there are no cases of confirmed lead poisoning by water in Monroe County. If parents are concerned, they can call the school district office at 242-5200.

McGowen says that the district will continue to voluntarily test their water and they are now working with an outside third-party environmental agency that will further help with testing in the future.


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