In May 2016, the City of Newton, in partnership with the School Department, began a comprehensive water testing program in all school and municipal buildings. Initial results showed elevated lead and copper levels in some school buildings. Following initial results, the school department took action to address the issue, putting in place remediation plans and re-testing all fixtures.
The EPA standard for lead in drinking water is 15 PPB (parts per billion). The School Department has adopted the more stringent World Health Organization threshold of 10 PPB. When a fountain or fixture in a school building is found to have a lead level higher than 10 PPB, the fixture is shut off, replaced, and re-tested. The fixture is not put back into use until the test results confirm the water meets the WHO standard for safe drinking water.
The City of Newton has committed to yearly testing of all water fountains, as well as sinks in the nurse, kitchen, and staff rooms for the next two years. All results are available here, as well as on the City of Newton's Department of Health website.