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Lead found in the drinking water of some Amsterdam homes

August 27, 2018 11:13 PM

AMSTERDAM – A recent round of samples of drinking water of homes in Amsterdam exceeded lead limits put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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The City held a public information meeting Monday night to talk to residents about the results. It’s required by the EPA to start an education campaign about lead in drinking water when you exceed those limits. Only a few residents attended the meeting.

“I called to say hey, what’s going on and even the Mayor’s office didn't know this is going on, or at least the person I spoke to didn't,” said Amsterdam Resident Kristi Pucci.

Pucci has lived in Amsterdam the past seven year. She said she wasn't aware of lead being found in the drinking water of some homes until she recently saw a social media post about it.

"When you rent, you don't know what the infrastructure of the house is, so do we have lead service pipes, I don't know,” explained Pucci.

On Monday night, the city explained the numbers.

"We had 60 samples, our 90th percentile sample cannot exceed the action level of 15 parts per billion and our 90th percentile sample unfortunately was 16 parts per billion,” said Amsterdam Chief Plant Operator Randy Gardinier.

The city only tested what the EPA calls “Tier One” homes. That means they have either lead service lines or lead or copper plumbing. Gardinier said people should know it’s not the city’s water system that’s the problem.

"The lead we're experiencing in the samples is from service lines entering people’s homes or their interior plumbing,” explained Gardinier.

New York State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara also showed up to the meeting Monday night. He told the city that there’s state funding that these test results allow Amsterdam to apply for to improve its infrastructure.

"One of the first things you could do is replace those old lead service lines, the water sits in there, it picks up these contaminants,” said Santabarbara. “When you talk about lead in water, especially with small children, you talk about it could affect the development of the brain, learning disorders."

While the city works to inform the public, along with work on other projects.

"We're also conducting a corrosion controlled optimization study to look at the chemistry of the water and look and see if what we're doing with the chemicals we're currently adding is optimal for the corrosion control,” explained Gardinier.

There is something homeowners with lead or copper pipes can do.

"The easiest, quickest thing to do is to let your water run," said Gardinier.

But Pucci hopes the city informs the public a little better if they plan another meeting.

"I did suggest put it on the main web page, because I went there and there was nothing there,” said Pucci.

The city will also be doing another round of testing on that same group of homes in September. It’s hoping the numbers go down. Assemblyman Santabarbara said anyone who wants to test their drinking water at home can call his office and they’ll let people know how they can get a free testing kit.

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Emily De Vito

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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