San Diego County

Garfield Elementary Parents, District Official Meet to Discuss Elevated Lead Levels

The San Diego Unified School District said the results came back from routine tests performed on each campus.

Parents of students at Garfield Elementary School met with a San Diego Unified School District representative on Tuesday to discuss elevated levels of lead found in the drinking water at their children's campus. 

Last week, four of the school's 52 water faucets tested positive for lead, one of which tested above the federal limit of 15 parts-per-billion, according to SDUSD spokesperson Samer Naji.

The faucet, which had not been in use since last year when lead was detected in the drinking water, tested at 17.28 parts per billion on Dec. 14, according to SDUSD's water sampling report. 

To read the District's testing results for Garfield Elementary, click here.

The three other faucets, which Naji said were inside rarely used classrooms, fell below the federal standard but tested higher than the 5 parts-per-billion standards set by the district.

Each of the three faucets, all drinking fountains, tested between 9- to 12 parts-per-billion. 

Parents at Garfield elementary were informed to the elevated amounts of lead in a letter sent home last week. 

On Friday, the district informed parents of students at Ocean Beach Elementary school that they had also found lead in the drinking water at the school’s fountains. 

To read the District's testing results for Ocean Beach Elementary, click here.

San Diego Unified said students at both campuses were provided bottled water if there wasn’t a water fountain close by that did not test positive for lead. 

NBC 7 Investigates has been tracking the testing of water in San Diego County’s schools for more than a year. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has found no amount of lead in water is safe for children to drink.

The San Diego Unified School District also responded to reporting from NBC 7 Investigates and media partner Voice of San Diego last week, surrounding the city of San Diego's water service lines. 

That reporting revealed the San Diego Public Utilities Department told State Water Board officials it could not identify what material two-thirds of the city's water service lines are made of. This contradicts what the water department told NBC 7 last year, saying there were NO lead pipes in its distribution system. 

Samer Naji, a spokesperson for the San Diego Unified School District, told Voice of San Diego that school leaders are confident in the city's water quality.

"If there was an issue with the city’s water quality, we believe that those issues would be revealed in the district’s water sampling results," Naji said. "Results received by the district from a certified lab have not produced an identifiable pattern that would indicate a systemic issue."

The city of San Diego has until July 2020 to identify what all those unidentified service lines are made of. If it can't, or if the city finds some of those lines are made of lead, the city will have to come up with a plan on how to replace those lines by the 2020 deadline.

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