Wednesday, June 14, 2017


We told you Tuesday that a special school district forum was being planned for Saturday to discuss the recent high lead levels found in some school drinking water.

Superintendent John Ramos revealed late yesterday that the 10 a.m. event would be held at Seth Boyden School.

In a letter to residents Ramos also stated that: NJ American Water had confirmed that its water supply was safe; the district would provide bottled water supplies in each school for at least two bottles of water per person per day; and each of the nine water sources in the schools found to be unsafe would be re-tested in the next week.

See the entire letter below:

Dear SOMSD Community:

This morning, Board of Education members and SOMSD Administrators met with town health officials and the district’s physician to discuss the elevated levels of lead in 9 district water sources. We have also been in contact with the Operations Project Manager for New Jersey American Water, which supplies water to both South Orange and Maplewood, and with local pediatricians.We appreciate the collaboration and community support as we work to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.
Remediation Already Completed/In Progress:

  • All affected water sources have been turned off and covered. The district will be replacing these fixtures with new equipment and filtration systems.
  • Each of the affected schools has bottled water available for students and staff. The district will continue to make sure that these schools have 2 bottles of water per day per person available.  
  • Central Office Administrators and Board of Education members met 6/13 with local health officials and the district’s physician to determine the next best steps to ensure the health and well-being of our students and staff.  
  • We are retesting all 9 water sources that had elevated levels, to re-confirm the lead levels and to determine if some of the results were anomalous. .  The results of retesting are likely to take at least a week.

We realize that many families and staff members may have questions – both technical questions about the testing itself, and also questions about the potential health impact of exposure to lead in drinking water.  We are in the process of planning a community forum where you can hear directly from experts, and ask questions.  We have tentatively scheduled this Forum for Saturday, June 17th at 10am at Seth Boyden Elementary School, and hope to be able to confirm the date tomorrow.

In the meantime, we have posted information and resources provided by our partners in both towns and in NJAW on the District Website.


Dr. John J. Ramos, Sr.


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