State Superintendent Tom Torlakson visited the San Ysidro School District on Thursday to learn about how the district has addressed dangerous levels of lead in the water at the La Mirada Elementary and San Ysidro Middle schools.
Last year, San Ysidro School District officials discovered blue water oozing from a school water fountain at La Mirada elementary.
They immediately shut off all water at the school and began providing bottled water to students while they investigated the problem.
Dangerous levels of lead and copper were discovered in the tap water and in school drinking fountains. Later testing revealed the school's twin building at Smythe did not have elevated levels of lead. But a school across the street, San Ysidro Middle, did have elevated levels of lead.
NBC 7 alerted Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to the issues at La Mirada, who wrote pending legislation requiring that school districts test water for lead. Staff in Gonzalez's office had already been studying concerns about lead in school water.
Gonzalez and her team researched the issue in the south San Diego County district for about a year prior to the discovery of elevated levels of lead at La Mirada, following the Flint water crisis.
The discovery sparked pending legislation written by Gonzalez requiring schools test their water for lead. So far, in San Diego, about half a dozen schools have discovered dangerous levels of lead in school water and about 40 have discovered elevated levels of lead, following extensive coverage of the issue by NBC7's "Safe to Drink?" series.
"I am proud of how our District continues to proactively address this issue," said San Ysidro Superintendent Dr. Julio Fonseca. "It is a challenge for schools and districts across the country, and our careful approach has been exemplary."