Voorheesville Parents Meet with School Leaders About Water Issues

A lot of learning goes on inside the four walls at Voorheesville Elementary School.

But Monday night, it was the parents' turn to listen and ask questions about a national issue causing concerns locally.

"The parents are certainly concerned and wondering what's going on, and the children are also wondering what's going on," said Francine Marzinsky.

Three sinks at the elementary school tested positive for lead: one in the transportation center at the state's limit, one in Classroom 114 just a little bit higher, and one in the kitchen -- more than 100 times above it at 1,800 parts per billion. 

"We got our results back on the first day of school, and we realized we had a problem with three of our outlets in the elementary school, so we shut those down immediately," said Superintendent Brian Hunt.

Marzinsky's children both were in Classroom 114 a number of years ago.

"They recall only using that sink for hand washing," she said.

One of Elisa Hyman's children was also in the classroom. Her children also drank water out of pitchers being filled at the kitchen sink. 

"My children are part of the kids club program at the school here, and they are the ones drinking out of the big jugs in the cafeteria in the morning and afternoon," Hyman said, "and my son was in the affected classroom, so sure, there's concerns."

A fourth test at the kitchen sink showed much lower levels of lead -- 146 parts per billion -- and that's only after fittings and liners inside a pipe were replaced last week. 

"We did the whole pipe now and we're getting lower levels," Hunt said, "so the next step is to put another new fixture on there. Hopefully this does it. We'll see. We'll do another test and let you know."

According to the superintendent, a new faucet that was installed in May was soldered together with copper that contained lead. Testing shows that, when water runs for about 30 seconds, lead levels are much lower, leading him to believe it's the faucet that's the concern. 

"It's a trial-and-error process to see what works and what doesn't," he said.

It's a learning process for school leaders as well -- hopefully not at the cost of students.

"We need to fix this," Hunt said. "We need to make sure our kids and staff are safe, so that's what we're working on."

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