Elevated Water Lead Levels in Some Campus Residences

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Water testing at the 72, 80, and 84 Broad Street residences conducted last week and returned today show an elevated presence of lead from first-draw samples (water that has sat motionless for eight hours) which exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action level for lead. Tests on flowing water from the faucets show lead levels that are non-detectable or well below the EPA action level. The water samples, collected by Colgate’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), were sent to a New York State Department of Health (DOH) approved lab for testing.

The residents of these houses have been notified that until further notice the water will be considered non-potable in all areas other than the kitchen where faucet-mounted filters will be temporarily installed, while additional testing is conducted. Out of an abundance of caution, Colgate Health Services has coordinated blood testing for any student living at 72, 80, or 84 Broad Street who wishes to be tested for lead.

While the Village of Hamilton routinely tests the municipal water supply for contaminants, including lead, and the most recent tests showed no actionable levels of lead or any other contaminants, these new data show that additional testing is required.

The health and safety of our community is of paramount importance. The University is conducting a thorough investigation, in collaboration with the Village of Hamilton, to find the source of the elevated lead levels and to ensure that it is remediated with as little disruption as possible. 

Please visit colgate.edu/leadtesting for complete water test results, remediation status updates, and more details on the hazards of lead.

Next Steps

  • Faucet-mounted water filters, certified for lead reduction, are being placed in the kitchens of the affected residences for drinking and cooking purposes.
  • Colgate will provide water coolers on each floor of the residences until the issue is addressed.
  • Only filtered water, or water from the coolers, should be consumed at the affected locations until testing is complete.
  • Colgate’s EHS will conduct additional water testing along Broad Street as well as at strategic points across campus. 
  • We expect test results from the new round of samples to be returned early next week. We will communicate the findings of those tests at that time.


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