Lab results revealed high levels of lead, copper and potentially deadly bacteria in the drinking water at one school in the San Ysidro Elementary School District, NBC 7 has learned.
District officials shut off the drinking water at La Mirada Elementary School following the results of tests on the drinking water. The drinking water has been turned off as a precaution at Smythe Elementary School and San Ysidro Middle School, officials said.
NBC 7 has obtained a test result that reveal levels of lead in the drinking water at La Mirada were nearly 18 times higher than the regulatory limit.
Also, a dangerous, even deadly bacteria that can cause dysentery was discovered in several areas of the elementary school on Avenida de la Madrid.
In October, a substance described as blue and murky was noticed coming out of the faucets during a pressure test, officials said.
The district shut off the water and hired a private firm to test if the water was safe to use for the staff and students.
Superintendent Julio Fonseca, Ed.D. sent a letter to parents on Jan. 26 informing them that recent sampling on January 23 showed “slightly elevated levels of lead at eight more fountains within the school and the presence of bacteria at two sinks and a fountain.”
One test, NBC 7 has learned, revealed lead as high as 267 parts per billion, when amounts over 15 parts per billion is the regulatory limit.
No amount of lead in water is safe but levels as high as 400 can cause immediate and acute health issues.
Copper results were 1,700 micrograms and 2,300 micrograms per liter of water. The regulated limit of copper is 1,300 micrograms per liter of water.
Students were being provided bottles of water at the three schools mentioned and all cooking is being done with bottled water.
La Mirada is located on Avenida de la Madrid and enrolls approximately 460 students in grades 3 through 6.
Smythe Elementary School on Smythe Avenue serves approximately 790 students in Kindergarten through Grade 3.
San Ysidro Middle School is located on Otay Mesa Road and enrolls approximately 640 students in Grades 7 and 8.
The district told parents it planned to replace the affected fountains at La Mirada by mid-February with a replacement of faucets and fountains at Smythe and San Ysidro by summer 2017.
The district serves more than 5,230 students.