San Diego

Elevated Lead Levels Found in Water at Mira Mesa Elementary School

One water fountain had 5 times the level of lead allowed by the district

What to Know

  • NBC 7 has been reporting on concerns about the levels of lead in drinking fountains used by local students for years.
  • Schools with lead levels above 15 ppb must shut down all drinking fountains and faucets and provide other clean water sources.
  • If you have information to share concerning this topic, call us through our tip line at (619) 578-0393.

High levels of lead were found in drinking water on the campus of an elementary school in Mira Mesa and on Friday, parents will get more information from school officials on what's being done to fix the issue.

Principal Tobie Pace sent a letter to students' homes detailing that lead levels higher than the standard set by the school district were found in the drinking water at Hickman Elementary School on Montongo Street. More than 400 children attend the school in grades transitional Kindergarten to 5th grade.

Higher than usual amounts of lead were found in several water fountains and some faucets, according to the San Diego Unified School District.

One water fountain had 5 times the level of lead allowed by the district.

A faucet in a teachers' workroom had almost eight times the acceptable level established by SDUSD, exceeding both district and federal guidelines.

Under the State Water Resources Control Board guidelines, school districts must retest water sources after a positive result of lead in water at levels greater than 15 parts per billion (ppb).

SDUSD has established an action level that is more strict than the state guidelines and requires action taken when lead levels are above 5 parts per billion (ppb).

San Diego Unified School District is publishing test results here.

The district is providing bottled water to students while repairs are made.

In December, parents of students at Garfield Elementary School were told elevated lead levels were found in four water faucets on the school's campus.

Three drinking fountains tested between 9 to 12 ppb, officials said. A school district spokesperson said the faucets were found inside rarely used classrooms.

Parents at Ocean Beach Elementary were also told about elevated levels of lead found in that school's drinking fountains. Four water sources tested above the district's 5 ppb threshold. 

In 2009, California’s health department, OEHHA, set the public health goal for lead in drinking water at 0.2 parts per billion. 

The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics maintain there is no safe level of lead in drinking water provided to children.

Lead poisoning in children can cause symptoms ranging from headaches and hearing or speech problems to learning and behavioral problems or damage to the brain and nervous system.

The potential for lead contamination in the water supply is greater in buildings built before 1986, according to health, water and city experts.

There are 447 schools across San Diego County built before 1986.

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