California officials shut off the drinking fountains in school after lead was found
Elevated levels of lead were found in pipes at Excelsior Middle School (EMS) in Byron, Calif. Officials shut off the drinking fountains until further notice.
The lead levels were not alarmingly high, but elevated enough that the school shut off drinking fountains in the building. EMS has now provided bottled water for students in the middle school.
Dr. Debbie Gold, Byron Union School District superintendent, said the lead is believed to be coming from the aging pipes in the building in question. According to thepress.net, Gold said the school is working with Timothy Ellsworth, a Environmental Health Specialist from the county’s Environmental Health Department, to solve the problem and keep students safe.
“EMS is served by a noncommunity, non transient water system overseen by the county,” Ellsworth said to thepress.net. “They have to test for lead and copper once every three years. Because they found elevated levels, moving forward, they will have to test yearly.”
According to Ellsworth, the school’s water supply has no detectable levels of lead and copper. This could mean the problem is coming from the school’s infrastructure.
“As the water is distributed through the school, the fixtures, which are copper with lead soldering, are leaching out into the distribution system,” said Ellsworth to thepress.net. “Moving forward, the county will assist the district by looking at the data they collect and giving our perspective.”
Dr. Marilyn Underwood, Director of Environmental health, said the samples taken have showed levels of lead in different areas.
“Each sample taken was very different, but we did not see screaming high levels where we expect to see health effects,” Underwood said to thepress.net. “It’s still a concern, but this kind of thing takes long-term exposure before we are going to see health effects.”
The testing done was performed by CERCO Analytical and done in the required three-year window. CERCO Analytical is certified by California to perform water analysis.