The City Council passed a sweeping package of bills aimed at preventing lead poisoning — including a restriction to keep inspectors from gaming the pipe tests.
The city says it’s already ended the practice of flushing pipes in city schools before testing for lead — but the bill, if signed, would codify that practice.
“How long do you think New York City was able to run the water before they took a sample of what your kids are drinking?” Councilman Joe Borelli, who sponsored the bill, asked. “Two hours. Two hours.”
“The system was flushed and then only then would the DOE be able to test the water — and still they found levels of lead that were inappropriate,” he said.
The practice sparked outrage when it was revealed in 2016 — and led to schools being re-tested and the use of first-draw water beginning in the 2016 to 2017 school year.
The bill to require first draw testing to continue is one of several the Council passed aimed at reducing the risk of lead poisoning — following a massive scandal over a failure to conduct lead inspections in apartments at the New York City Housing Authority.
Another bill would require the city’s Health Department to investigate any dwelling where a child spends 10 or more hours per week for lead if that child has a test showing elevated blood lead levels.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson said that was aimed at helping children who spend significant amount of time at the house of a grandparent, other relative or family friend.
“In the past, laws didn’t cover folks, children, that were spending time outside of their primary residences and in a residence that wasn’t their primary residence, and this goes to fix that,” Johnson said.
The bill was sponsored by Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens), who noted his past as a teacher.
“Even just the littlest bit of lead can affect a child permanently for the rest of their lives,” Dromm said. “So what we’re doing here today is really helping and protecting children who are exposed to that.”
Mayor de Blasio has previously announced his own plans to end exposure to lead hazards in the city.