The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has been testing the water in New Bedford schools as part of a volunary program, and the results are in.

A small number of samples came back with some contaminates, but neither school officials or the DEP are concerned. Out of the 1,074 samples taken in New Bedford schools, only 74 came back with higher than acceptable levels of copper or lead, meaning only about seven percent were unacceptable.

There was no contamination found at the New Bedford reservoir, the source of the schools' water.

New Bedford School Department spokesman Jonathan Carvalho tells WBSM News the contamination was coming instead from older pipes, sinks and water fountains in some of the older school buildings.

"It's older fixtures in older buildings, not much different from older houses," Carvalho said. "The fixtures or faucets or bubblers may have some traces of lead in them, so it's very easy to just shut them off and then replace those fixtures."

Until they can be replaced, the pipes and fixtures in question have been shut off. They will also be flushed daily.

Carvalho said replacing the pipes and fixtures should not be an extra burden on taxpayers, as the school department already has money set aside for such a job.

"Part of our budget process every year is ensuring there is money set aside and funding set aside for regular maintenance," he said. "Replacing some fixtures across the district would definitely fall into a maintenance program."

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