Tewksbury Middle School Makes Strides in Correcting Lead Problem

Schools and other buildings across New Jersey undergo testing every year to ensure that lead levels are within a range that are not considered harmful to your health.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, many buildings constructed prior to 1986 have lead problems. The Old Turnpike School, a middle school in Tewksbury, New Jersey, is one of these schools.

The Old Turnpike School has had a lead problem stemming back to at least 2008.  It was reported that lead was leaching into the school’s water supply through the building’s plumbing.  In an attempt to reduce the pH level, the school district initially tried to install a potash system, but it was unsuccessful at consistently fixing the problem.   The district then installed a new system that uses orthophosphate to coat the inside of the plumbing by creating a molecular film that blocks the water from touching the metal piping.

After the new system was installed, all water samples as of December 2012 were found to be in compliance with federal water standards.  The water fountains located in the building, however, have been turned off since March 2012 and are still currently turned off.  It is reported that the drinking fountains will be placed back on once a more sophisticated filtering system is installed.

Fortunately, there have been no reported health problems by anyone at the Old Turnpike School as a result of the lead.  Lead exposure can, however, lead to serious health problems that can affect almost every part of the body and is especially dangerous to pregnant women and children.  For example, exposure can result in neurological disorders, reproductive disorders, cognitive disorders, digestive disorders, and in some cases, death.  Symptoms of lead poisoning generally do not appear until large amounts have accumulated in the body, so it is important to treat the exposure quickly once symptoms surface.  Individuals who suffer from illnesses related to lead poisoning may also be entitled to money damages from building owners who fail to get rid of the lead in their buildings and put their tenants and others at risk.