Now Lead-Free, Water In Some Ithaca Schools Will Soon Flow Again

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – It’s been over three years since water fountains in some Ithaca area schools could offer students a drink. In 2015, water systems in all 12 Ithaca City Schools were shut off after tests showed elevated lead levels. However, within two weeks, the water will be turned on again at some elementary schools.

Celia Clarke/WSKG

Water approved for drinking in hallway of Ithaca High School.

In late January, a letter to families from the Ithaca City School District announced water service in some elementary schools will return February 25th.

This is a long time coming. It began in August 2015 when tests showed elevated lead levels in several schools.

First, the district hired consultants who tested every water fountain and faucet in every school.

“We don’t have a water source issue, right?,” said district Chief Operation Officer Amanda Verba. She’s in charge of coordinating the remediation process. “We have a here and there fixture issue.”

She spoke with WSKG last year.

“The district,” said Verba, “has agreed that we would like to do all of the elementary buildings and then sort of, quote, Go Live, unquote, with all of those fixture replacements at the same time.”

The district still has more to do. It is now replacing all fixtures in the middle and high schools.