Drinking Water Safety

  • The City of Yonkers (COY) has excellent water quality obtained from the New York City Water Supply System which meets or exceeds all federal and State standards.  Yonkers' drinking water is additionally treated at the COY Water Treatment Plant and consistently receives high quality ratings.  To ensure our students and staff have access to safe drinking water in schools, the Yonkers Board of Education (BOE) works with the COY Department of Public Works, the Westchester County Health Department (WCHD) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    Schools that receive water from a public water system, such as the Yonkers Public Schools, are not required by federal or state law to conduct sampling for lead in their drinking water.  To protect public health, the EPA suggests that schools and day care facilities test their drinking water for lead.  In this pursuit, the BOE and COY initiated a comprehensive water testing program aligned with the EPA's 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools – training, testing, telling.

    Beginning in 2005, the COY Water Laboratory performed random drinking water tests in some schools.  In 2011 and 2012, through a voluntary program with the EPA and WCHD, testing was expanded.  The vast majority of samples were confirmed negative.  Concerns that were identified during this process were immediately addressed.

    Currently, the BOE is collaboratively working with the COY Water Bureau's New York State Certified Laboratory to sample and test every drinking water source at every school.  This will require several months of work.  If any test results reveal health-safety concerns appropriate immediate action will be taken to disable the fixture.  When testing is completed at a school, a report will be provided to the principal for review.

    Based on EPA guidance, the BOE initiated daily protocols to flush all water outlets prior to the beginning of the school day.  Flushing is highly effective in removing lead from drinking water by building up the protective coating in Yonkers' water on plumbing pipes, rinsing stagnant water out of fixtures and bringing in fresh water.