State crackdown on lead contamination won’t affect Island school

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Shelter Island School
REPORTER FILE PHOTO Shelter Island School

While many school districts may be hustling to comply with a newly enacted law requiring water tests for lead content, Shelter Island isn’t among them.

Because the school relies on well water, the district is required to have its water supply tested quarterly, Superintendent Leonard Skuggevik said. There has been no evidence of lead contamination in recent tests. In addition, separate testing is done monthly on water used in the kitchen, he added, with the same results.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation requiring testing for lead content this month, issuing a statement that nearly 700 districts throughout the state would have to comply with the tests by October 31. Elementary schools were required to comply with the new law by the end of this month.

The bill provides that the state will reimburse districts for testing and provide money to offset the cost of replacing pipes if that’s needed.

Test results are to be reported to the public as well as to local and state governments.

“These rigorous new protections for New York’s children include the toughest lead contamination testing standards in the nation and provide clear guidance to schools on when and how they should test their water,” Mr. Cuomo said in a written statement.

While the new legislation applies to public schools and cooperative education services, it makes no mention of private schools.

The Shelter Island Early Childhood Learning Center operates a preschool program at the Presbyterian Church and isn’t specifically covered by the law because it is private. But the church is also used for senior lunches twice a week and, accordingly, has to meet both New York State and Suffolk County Department of Health Services requirements. Accordingly, its well and water undergo regular testing.