Senate Passes Gianaris Bill Mandating Lead Testing of Water Fountains 

Push bar drinking fountain. Photo: Public domain

ALBANY, NY – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris on June 18 announced the Senate passed his legislation requiring schools and parks to test water fixtures for lead and make repairs to any deemed unsafe.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our children and we have a responsibility to ensure we are not endangering them through public water supplies,” said Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris. “I am proud the Senate passed this critical safety measure that will save children’s lives.”

“Gantry Parent Association is deeply appreciative of Senator Gianaris’ leadership in ensuring our children’s water is safe to drink where they learn and play,” said Meghan Cirrito, Chair of the Gantry Parent Association. “Schools and parks are the heart of any New Yorkers childhood and, thanks to the Senator’s championing of this cause, parents can rest a little easier knowing there is a process in place to keep drinking water safe.”

New York State Senator Michael Gianaris. Photo: Courtesy of Sen. Michael Gianaris

The legislation requires schools and parks to test for potable water every three years to determine if there is any contamination. If elevated lead levels are found, the location would have 90 days to remedy the situation. Results would be submitted to the state and displayed online for public review.

A law enacted in 2016 required schools to test for lead in water every five years; no such mandate exists for public parks. Senator Gianaris’ legislation increases the scope of testing to include parks, requires testing occur more frequently and creates open data disclosure of the information.

In 2016, the New York Times reported 83% of New York City school buildings had at least one fixture contaminated with lead. The schools with the highest rates of contamination were found in Queens, with one school having fixtures containing lead at more than 40 times the safe limit.