The Student News Site of Pace High School

Pacer NYC

Pacer NYC

The Student News Site of Pace High School

Pacer NYC

No Recent Water Tests Cause Uncertainty About the Water Quality

photo Penelope Burgos and Genesis Peralta
Joseph Gregorio drinks from the school’s water fountain on the 3rd floor.

Something in Pace’s tap water is killing Mr. Cyphert’s fish, and he can’t figure out what it is.

“I’ve been using the tap water for my fish tank and my fish have been dying and I have done a lot of testing on the water with ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, the pH, the temperature, the hardness,” Mr. Cyphert, the environmental science teacher said. “I’ve called experts about this. I was on the phone yesterday and it’s mysterious.”

In May 2021, the New York City Department of Education released a report that found six of 180 samples containing high levels of lead in the school’s water. Four months later, the DOE reported that the lead problem was fixed, Pacer NYC reported in Jan. 2022.

Despite these issues, it’s been nearly three years since a comprehensive report on the school’s drinking water was published, and it’s unclear whether new tests have been performed. Students and teachers are concerned by the lack of up-to-date information.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health, including, damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems.”

The DOE issued a 2021 follow-up report: “All drinking and cooking water outlets that tested with lead levels above the action level (15 ppb) were removed from service and remediated.” But the report does not specify what “remediated” entailed.

School custodian Anthony Canales said that every Monday morning and after the holidays, the custodial staff flushes the water in the school pipes.

“There hasn’t been any test done since the last test which I’m sure you can see online,” Canales said.

However, Principal Glatz said, “[The water] does get tested regularly.”

Canales said the water in the school is drinkable and he uses it to refill his own water bottles.

“We are at full capacity, so our water is constantly being used in the system throughout the building,” Canales said. “There’s a good capacity of good water flow in the whole building, so I don’t see anything wrong with the water at all.”

Omar Saquisili, a junior at Pace, had strong feelings when asked about the water quality in the school building. Saquilisi called the drinking water “subpar at best.”

“The water always tastes a little different than at home to the point where I try not to drink the school’s water,” Saquisili said. “The water quality is very underwhelming. I prefer to drink from the cafeteria water because it is colder and tastes much better.”
A water quality test is expected in 2024, according to Canales. New York State law requires the Department of Education to test public schools’ water for lead every three years.

In the meantime, the cause of death for Mr. Cyphert’s fish remains a mystery.


Reported with instructional assistance of Arabella Saunders, Report for America corps member and reporter with New York Focus.
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Penelope Burgos
Penelope Burgos, Reporter & Designer
Penelope Burgos is a senior at Pace High School and the Pacer NYC News Design Editor. She is dedicated to working on her personal and academic goals. She is captain of event planning in SGO and plays in Pace's softball team. She enjoys hanging out with her friends and family, listening to music, dancing, and watching television series. She makes sure to prioritize her well-being while also staying on top of her work.
Genesis Peralta
Genesis Peralta, Reporter
Genesis Peralta, a junior at Pace High School, is dedicated to working on herself and her academic life. She loves to spend time with her dog, Sparky, and watch many different shows/movies on Netflix.

Comments (0)

All The Pacer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *