Making Sure Your Local Water Fountain is Safe and Lead Free

One of the most commonly identified sources of lead poisoning for children in New York City is peeling lead paint and its dust. However, lead in drinking fountains is also a rising concern. 

According to NYC Environmental Protection, lead in the city’s water can be caused by the corrosion of pipes. When water comes into contact with plumbing that contains the substance, it can be absorbed into it. After a long day of play, we very often take a sip at a local fountain in our parks and playgrounds –  it’s scary to think that it can be contaminated. Exposure to lead in water raises a big public safety concern. That is why it’s important to stay on top of where our families can access safe to drink public fountain water. Read below to know which fountains are drinkable in NYC.

water fountain

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s LeadFreeNYC plan prioritizes the elimination of lead exposure to children and the general public. The city is testing all of its estimated 3,500 outdoor drinking fountains. Tests began on May 6, 2019, and were said to be completed mid-June. Fountains that have higher lead levels than 15 parts per billion are closed until they can be properly fixed.

As of right now, NYC says the drinking water is safe. The Department of Environmental Protection conducts more than 600,000 tests of the water every year to make sure it meets safety standards. The department said that, while concerning, the fountains aren’t a known source of childhood lead exposure. 

Currently, there are more safe water fountains than those deemed unsafe. Fountains are closed if they exhibit signs of contamination or if they haven’t been tested yet – these are marked with plastic bags and stickers. However, if you’re ever unsure, check below to see the map that is updated constantly with the status of all the fountains.