Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Friday requiring water districts to test school water for lead in California.
NBC 7 Investigates has covered ongoing issues with lead in San Diego County's school water systems for about a year.
When the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) tested for lead in their school water as part of a voluntary program, they discovered lead in the water at about 40 schools. SDUSD officials are still working to fully resolve the problem.
The bill, written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, was partially prompted by the discovery of dangerous levels of lead in a San Ysidro elementary school water fountain.
“This is basic common sense,” Gonzalez Fletcher said. “The science is clear – not even the tiniest amount of lead is safe to drink. And if your child is drinking lead-contaminated water at school, you as a parent have every right to know about it. This law will help safeguard the health of our children, which is one of our most solemn responsibilities as legislators.”
The legislation will require schools built before 1990 to test their drinking water for lead. School officials must test for lead in their portable water system before Jan. 1, 2019.
According to the new law, local school staff must notify parents and guardians if lead levels exceed the recommended level. Staff must also immediately shut down all fountains and faucets where excess lead levels are present.
Local educational agencies will also be required to make sure a source of safe drinking water is available for students.
Under the new legislation, a community water system must prepare a sampling plan for each school site where there are high lead levels. The bill will lead to state-mandated local programs, with additional duties placed on educational agencies.