Statement on Lead/Water in Ulster County Facilities

Statement from Dr. Carol Smith, Ulster County Commissioner of Health    


As part of a proactive effort to ensure the safety of drinking water in County facilities, the County Health Department ordered water sampling and testing by an independent, certified drinking water lab.  The testing was completed in 26 of the County’s locations and the results indicate elevated lead levels in 18 of these locations.  This includes both County owned and County leased facilities.

Using an abundance of caution, the County Executive ordered, effective immediately, the following aggressive measures to protect the health and safety of County employees and the public using County facilities:

  • Only water from the recently installed filtered water fountains or bottled water provided in other locations should be used for drinking or cooking.
  • Tap water can be used for washing hands or dishes, but should not be consumed.
  • All water faucets in facilities that have tested positive for elevated lead levels will be posted.
  • Similar testing will be performed in the remaining County facilities.  Water faucets in these locations will also be posted as a precautionary measure until results are available.

Drinking water that is below 0.015 milligrams per liter for lead levels meets New York State standards and is safe for consumption.  The attached report indicates the County locations, owned or leased, that were tested and the test results.  

Further information and details will be posted by the Ulster County Department of Health on its webpage at

Click here for the complete testing report


A note about filtered water fountains installed in many county facilities:

The County uses Eklay EZH2O filtered water fountains/water filling stations in many of our buildings. The filtering system – removes particulate, chlorine, odor and lead (certified to NSF 42 & 53)*.  And removes, on average more than 99% of the any lead that way be in the source water. Water samples we have taken from the filtered water stations confirm this reduction. Filters are changed every 3,000 gallons or at least once a year. 

*NSF International is an independent global organization that writes public health standards and certifies products for food, water and consumer goods. NSF/ANSI Standard 42: Drinking Water Treatment Units - Aesthetic Effects, is used to verify a drinking water filter effectively removes contaminants that cause undesirable odor and taste, such as chlorine. NSF/ANSI Standard 53: Drinking Water Treatment Units - Health Effects verifies that a filter can effectively reduce specific health-related contaminants such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), and MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) that may be present in public or private drinking water.


Public Health Notice 

For Immediate Release - 05.13.16

A drinking water test, commissioned by Ulster County and conducted by Environmental Labworks, Inc., a New York State certified drinking water laboratory, has been completed at the County owned Trudy Farber Resnick Building, in Ellenville, New York.  This test is part of Ulster County's proactive testing protocol that will evaluate all County Facilities.  The water test showed the site to be well within the acceptable EPA limit with respect to lead content levels.  As a result County Executive Mike Hein, in consultation with Ulster County Commissioner of Health and Mental Health, Dr. Carol Smith, has lifted the restriction on drinking and/or cooking with tap water at this specific location. Click here for a copy of the report..



CDC About Lead in Drinking Water

EPA: Lead and Drinking Water

New York State Department of Health: Getting Lead Out of Drinking Water

Lead in Tapwater and Plumbing - FAQs