A sign atop a turnedoff drinking fountain in a Newark NJ school warns students not to drink the water WCBS-TV

A sign atop a turned-off drinking fountain in a Newark, N.J., school warns students not to drink the water.

Elevated lead levels found in water at 30 Newark, N.J., schools

Drinking fountains at affected schools have been shut off, and water coolers and bottled water have been made available.

Elevated levels of lead has been found in the water at 30 schools in the Newark (N.J.) district, and the district has shut off water on those campuses and is providing water from alternative sources.

The school district says in a news release that New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection urged the district to stop using tap water at those schools after test results showed high levels of lead.

Classes at the affected schools are continuing, and replacement drinking water, from water coolers and bottled water is available.

"Parents should have no concerns about students’ water and food consumption at the school while the situation is addressed," the district says.

State and district officials plan to begin immediate, coordinated sampling of all points of entry and taps for all public schools in the district, including charters, to determine the root of the apparent contamination.

The district says testing showed that 30 school buildings recorded levels ranging from non-detect to above Environmental Protection Agency's action level for lead, which is 15 parts per billion. The action level represents the threshold requiring additional testing, monitoring and remediation.

State officials also note that lead has not been found within the Newark Water Department’s source water. In most cases where lead is found in drinking water, it enters through the water delivery system itself when it leaches from either lead pipes, household fixtures containing lead, or lead solder.

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