SCOTIA — The village has found elevated levels of lead in routine water testing.
Village Department of Public Works Superintendent Ryan Kedzior said the village did routine testing of 30 homes, and four of those tests came back with increased levels of lead.
“We test 30 sites randomly, no particular location,” Kedzior said. “We’ve tested the source water at the plant where the wells take the water from, we’ve tested negative from our source water for lead and copper.”
The residents on the village’s water system have all been sent a mailer about the health effects of lead, which they should be receiving this week, Kedzior said.
A press release from the village states: “The Village of Scotia is concerned about the health of their residents because lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources, especially for pregnant women and children 6 years and younger.”
The federal Environmental Protection Agency sets an action level for lead of 15 parts per billion. If that level is exceeded the public must be informed.
“We want to be at 15 parts per billion,” Kedzior said. “Our 90th percentile was 17 parts per billion, so we were slightly above where we want to be. So we don’t have any that are extremely high, but we’re over the 15 parts per billion, so that’s why we are just notifying people that it may be issues with your interior plumbing, it could be a faucet, it could be a lead service line that services the house itself.”
The Public Education Notice sent to residents explains that lead can cause damage to someone’s brain and kidneys and can interfere with the body’s production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of a person’s body.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that lead exposure can also lead to damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development in children, learning and behavioral problems, and hearing and speech issues
“This is kind of isolated in homes, it could be mostly caused by lead service lines that service the house itself,” Kedzior said.
Lead can be released into water from plumbing materials that contain lead, such as lead pipes, faucets or fixtures. When present, a lead service line can be the biggest contributor of lead in drinking water, according to the release. A water service line is the pipe that delivers water to your home from the water main in the street. If it’s made of lead or galvanized material, the service line can leach or unpredictably release toxic lead particles into the water as it travels to the home.
The village is required now by the state Health Department to test 60 homes because of the higher-than-acceptable reading, Kedzior said. The village is seeking residents to take part in tap water sampling. If chosen to be part of the sampling, residents are required to take a sample from the cold tap after no water use for six hours. The water is collected in sample bottles that will be dropped off and picked up by the Department of Public Works. A form to apply to be among the homes tested is available on the village website.
The chemistry of drinking water can cause lead and copper to leach from plumbing materials. The notice stated the village will be completing a Corrosion Control Study to help determine how the water can be treated to reduce its corrosivity.
A number of village residents have voiced concerns about issues with village water previously. Scotia resident Dave Rosenberg said he has paid to get his water tested, and the results have shown elevated levels of copper and total coliform bacteria multiple times.
“They’re overlooking this water issue, but they shoved through this $14 million firehouse, but they’re not fixing the water issue, the bridge is falling down,” Rosenberg said. “The things that are important to the safety and well-being of us.”
Residents have had a lot of issues with water which they have brought to the attention of the village, Rosenberg said.
“It’s the same complaint a lot of people have been having at the village meetings,” Rosenberg said. “It’s not right.”
The lead is a village water issue, but some town of Glenville residents are on Scotia’s water system, Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle said.
“Unfortunately, these are the services that service some of our town residents,” Koetzle said. “This is why the town is moving to take our town residents off that system and put them on town water.”
The town has applied for a grant that would help do that. Koetzle said current village Mayor Thomas Gifford has advocated against the grant.
“The grant would take all these services out and replace them, and that’s what the town is working on,” Koetzle said. “But, it’s a village of Scotia problem. We’re trying to help our residents by getting them on town water and removing those services with a grant we applied for.”
Gifford could not be reached for comment. The village’s new mayor, David Bucciferro, officially takes office on Monday. Bucciferro said he expects to be updated about the water situation in the near future.