Samples from five schools show elevated lead levels in drinking water, according to new results released by the San Diego Unified School District. However, the levels do not meet state requirements for action by the district.
The results released on Thursday show several samples that are higher than the 5 parts per billion (ppb) used as a minimum for reporting by the City of San Diego Water Department. However, the levels did not reach the 15 ppb necessary to require action by the district under guidelines set in place by the California State Water Resources Control Board.
At La Jolla High School, two samples collected on May 12 returned with unusually high lead levels. In the kitchen, one of the faucets was found to have levels of lead measuring 6.34 ppb. At a fountain outside the cafeteria, the sample was found to have levels of lead measuring 10.5 ppb.
At Bird Rock Elementary, a fountain inside a kindergarten classroom sampled on May 11 was found to have lead levels measuring 10.5 ppb.
At Fletcher Elementary, a fountain found at the play area near Classrooms 7-12 was sampled on May 9. Test results show the water had lead levels measuring 6.82 ppb.
At Lindbergh/Schweitzer Elementary East, a fountain outside of a restroom measured lead levels at 7.98 ppb. The sample was collected on May 13.
At the San Diego Cooperative Charter Linda Vista Campus, a fountain near the auditorium was found to have lead levels measuring 6.06 ppb. The sample was collected on May 9.
With these most recent test results, unusually high levels of lead have been found at 12 schools. Each school reported results below state guidelines requiring the district to take action. NBC 7 filed a previous report involving results from eight SDUSD schools.
Three schools within the San Diego Unified School District have tested positive for levels of lead above state guidelines.
The schools are Birney Elementary School in University Heights, Emerson Campus of the Emerson/Bandini Elementary School and the Emerson Campus of the San Diego Cooperative Charter School.
In those cases, access to the water source was immediately restricted and bottled water was provided to staff and students. The district also began the protocol of retesting the source as part of determining what caused the high levels of lead in each sample.
So far 179 schools have been tested, according to the SDUSD website.
Other school districts in the county have reported results from recent sampling. The testing of lead in the water of local schools has intensified this spring.
Recently, results showed one sample from Ira Harbison Elementary School in the National School District was found to have lead levels at 20 ppb.
A sample was collected April 11 from a fountain at the southern exterior of the building, according to the results released by the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The sample was collected and tested by the Sweetwater Authority.
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.
In 2009, California’s health department, OEHHA, set the public health goal for lead in drinking water at 0.2 parts per billion.
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.
San Diego Unified School District is publishing test results for each school here.
NBC 7 is mapping the schools and the results. Parents can view how the testing is going and click on each location for updates and links to test results.
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.
See our map of schools where the risk is greater here.