San Diego

SDUSD Suggests Lead Testing for University Heights Students

District asking parents to get their kids tested for lead

The San Diego Unified School District is trying to calm concerns of parents at Alice Birney Elementary School in University Heights after high levels of lead were found in the drinking water. At the same time, it was suggested that parents have their children tested for exposure to lead by their family doctors.

The drinking fountain near the lunch area of Birney Elementary School was one of the sources sampled in the district's effort to test all schools for lead levels in drinking water.

Results posted on the district's website May 10 showed the wall-mounted fountain was found to have a lead level measured at 19 parts per billion (ppb).

District officials are required by the state to fix problems if they discover lead in water at levels greater than 15 ppb.

Parents voiced their concerns Tuesday night during a meeting with the district.

Some worried if their children had already been harmed from drinking and using the water. Others questioned how low-income parents were supposed to take time off work to get their children tested.

But many wanted reassurance from the district that the issue would be resolved as soon as possible.

"I'm not happy about it, but this is an old building and I'm not really that surprised," said Jerry Delane, who has a daughter in the fourth grade.

The district recommended parents get their kids tested by their doctor--which did not sit well with many who argued it's the district's responsibility and they should be providing the testing.

"I would like for them to come in tomorrow and say 'Here's the nurse, we're going to take everybody's blood and test every single kid.' But I don't think that's going to happen," Delane said.

The water is also used in the school garden from which students eat what they grow. 

The school has shut down water fountains at the school and is providing bottled water for drinking and cooking.

The district told NBC 7 that will continue as long as it needs to and parents will be notified in the coming weeks when more testing is completed at the school. 

SDUSD is publishing test results for each school here.

NBC 7 is mapping the schools and the results. See the map here. 

Parents can view how the testing is going and click on each location for updates and links to test results.

Read our coverage of the ongoing testing in our special section.

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