DEP Update

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September 12, 2016

Dear Families and Staff,

As a follow up to my May 2, 2016 letter and the letter the New York City Department of Education (DOE) sent on March 23, 2016, outlining the number of proactive, ongoing measures the DOE has been taking to ensure that the water in New York City schools is safe for students and staff, I want to share additional information about water testing for lead at The Bellaire School.

The water at The Bellaire School, was recently retested and the results came back completely negative for elevated lead levels.

New York City’s water is of the highest quality, meeting or exceeding all federal and State standards. The City regulates its own watershed that surrounds — and protects — our reservoirs, and the water is tested over 500,000 times each year at various points throughout the system. Beyond these extensive measures, the DOE works with City agencies, including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to ensure our students have access to safe drinking water in schools.

DEP has invested more than $10 billion over the last decade to maintain and improve our water supply infrastructure. Between 2008 and 2010, DEP worked with DOE and other city agencies to identify and remove lead service lines to schools and other municipal buildings.

Beginning in 2002, the DOE partnered with DOHMH and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to test the water in DOE school buildings. Currently, in every NYC public school built before the 1986 ban on lead in construction, the water has been tested for lead.

For those buildings that ever had even one outlet with results above recommended levels, we have implemented a protocol, approved by DOHMH and based on EPA guidance, involving a combination of weekly flushing, equipment replacement and more, to ensure the safety of students and faculty. Flushing has been shown to be highly effective in removing lead from water because (a) flushing builds up the protective coating on plumbing pipes and (b) flushing moves old water out of the system and brings in fresh water.

As you know, the water at The Bellaire School was initially tested for lead on April 4, 2016, and there were 3 elevated samples out of 168 samples tested. This information is also available on the DOE’s searchable database at http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/schools/watersafety.htm.

As a result of the 3 elevated results, our school is on the Health Department-approved protocol in order to ensure our water remains safe for students and faculty. This protocol is proven to be highly effective in removing lead from water. For the limited number of elevated samples, the vast majority are only found on “first-draw,” involving stagnant water that has been sitting in pipes for prolonged periods of time. That stagnant water is removed through our regular flushing protocol. We also take the highly-protective step of removing all equipment connected to one of the elevated samples.

In accordance with EPA guidelines, the flushing protocol includes the following:

  • Flushing takes place following weekends and holidays (prior to student and staff arrival)
  • Cold water taps used to obtain water for drinking or cooking purposes will be flushed
  • The furthest outlet or faucet from each branch line will be flushed first for 10 minutes
  • All other outlets on that branch line will be flushed until the water gets cold, or for a maximum of one minute
  • Drinking fountains with refrigeration units will be flushed for one minute
  • Custodial Engineers will document all flushing exercises and maintain a record in the school’s Safety Log

Additionally, the plumbing and fixtures that tested positive in the The Bellaire School building were removed from service and replaced.

On August 4, 2016 the water at The Bellaire School was retested for lead and there were no elevated samples. This information is also available on the DOE’s searchable database at http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/schools/watersafety.htm. The building will remain on the flushing protocol out of an abundance of caution.

Please be reassured that the water in our school building is safe to drink. While there is no cause for concern about the water in our school building, we understand that you take your child’s safety seriously and we share that commitment to safety with you.



Principal Lagnese

Top 10 Tips to Be Water Safe

June 3, 2016

Dear Families and Staff:

As many of you know, New York City beaches opened on Saturday, May 28, for the summer season, and City pools will open on June 29. The safety of our students is our top priority and we want everyone to stay safe near and in the water. Below are tips from NYC Parks on staying Water Safe this summer. I also encourage you to visit their website at nyc.gov/parks for more information.

Best regards,

Mrs. Lagnese

Picture1 Top 10 Tips to

Be Water Safe



New York City is surrounded by 520 miles of water. We want you to stay safe near and in the water, and also to have fun! Here are our ten favorite tips to help you enjoy our city’s waterfront and pools.

  1. Lifeguards Keep Us Safe

Lifeguards are there for your protection, so only swim where lifeguards are present, follow directions, and always swim with a buddy, friend, or parent.

  1. Learn to Swim

It’s never too early —or too late— to learn to swim! Learn about free and low-cost swim lessons by visiting the Learn to Swim page (http://nyc.gov/parks/learntoswim) or call 311 for more information.

  1. Never Leave Children Unattended

Teach children the importance of water safety and stay within arm’s reach while swimming. Never leave children unattended near water, even when lifeguards are present.

  1. Obey All Posted Signs and Flags

Read all signs and follow the directions of lifeguards. Swimming is only permitted in designated areas and never allowed when a red flag is posted at the beach.

  1. Watch for Dangerous Waves and Rip Currents

If you are caught in a rip current, do not panic. Rather, remain calm and begin to swim parallel to shore. Once away from the force of the rip current, swim back to the beach. Do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current – even a strong swimmer can become exhausted quickly.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as jetties and piers. All beachgoers should only swim in areas monitored by lifeguards, closely heed the instructions of lifeguards, and pay attention to any flags and posted signs. To learn more about rip currents, read safety tips and information provided by the National Weather Service (http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/).

  1. Stay Alert and Aware of Your Surroundings

Be careful not to swim tired, cold, or far from safety, and never use alcohol while swimming, boating, or supervising children near water.

  1. Wear a Life Jacket when Boating

Even expert swimmers should wear a life jacket while boating. Never use air-filled or foam beach toys instead of a life jacket.

  1. Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks

Never go wading unless swimming is permitted and be cautious of deep water. The first time you enter the water, ease in or walk in — do not jump or dive.

  1. Be Safe in the Sun

When at the beach, pool, or park this summer, wear sun screen, drink plenty of fluids, and wear light and loose-fitting clothing to stay cool.

  1. Know Before You Go

Check weather conditions and get real-time beach opening and water quality information by visiting the Health Department’s Beaches page (http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/environmental/beach.shtml) or call 311.