San Diego Unified Schools Starts Testing for Lead in Water

Testing to be completed by mid-June

PR: The City of San Diego began testing water for lead today at schools in San Diego Unified School District. It is anticipated that the water testing at district schools, and charter schools operating on district property, will be completed by mid-June.

The testing is made possible by a partnership with the City of San Diego. The comprehensive effort will take several months to complete due to the relevant regulatory requirements.

The safety and health of students and staff across San Diego Unified is the highest priority for the district. Therefore, the district will be using a geographic approach that provides the most efficient testing. Five schools will be tested daily, beginning in the southeast corner of the district where some of the oldest district schools are located. City staff will proceed north and west until all testing is complete.

Testing will occur before school begins to avoid any disruptions to learning. Up to five samples will be taken at each site. The sampling locations may include drinking fountains, cafeterias and food preparation areas. The city will analyze the water samples and notify the school district of the results. All results will be posted online as they are received.

If results indicate there is lead above allowable levels, district staff will determine the source of contamination and take appropriate action on a case-by-case basis (e.g., turn off water, replace fixtures and/or make plumbing repairs).

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Water for all San Diego Unified schools is provided by the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department. The city, as a municipal water provider, is required to comply with state and federal regulations and, as such, it conducts numerous water quality tests and produces related reports. The standards of quality for the water it provides are extremely high.
As a result of a December 20, 2016, permit action by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Division of Drinking Water, all community water providers, including the City of San Diego, are required to test for lead in drinking water at K-12 schools.

District staff recently met with representatives from the Public Utilities Department to discuss this new program and inform city staff of our intent to request sampling at all district schools (including charter schools located on district properties), and to develop an implementation plan. The program outlined above is a result of those meetings.

San Diego Unified looks forward to working with the San Diego delegation of the California Assembly and Senate, to discuss how we can work collaboratively regarding safe, reliable and healthy water for families.

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