No significant lead contamination found in Taft, Maricopa and Midway water
Seven Westside schools had their water tested for lead contamination and all passed the test.
All five Taft City School District campuses plus Maricopa Middle School and Midway Elementary had samples taken by the West Kern Water District and all showed lead levels in the water below the allowable level of 15 parts per billion, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.
The testing is aimed at finding lead contamination coming from pipes in the schools, not in the water system, and lead sampling is done at drinking fountains and faucets used for consumption and preparing food.
The clean tests mean the local schools don't have to take any further action.
If a school’s lead level exceeds 15 ppb, then the water system is required to sample water entering the school to help determine the possible source of lead. The school must also take several actions, including shutting down all fountains and faucets with high lead levels, providing potable drinking water until the situation is resolved, and notifying parents and guardians of students. Additional testing may be required to determine if all or just some of the school’s fountains and faucets are required to be shut down.
Under Assembly Bill 746, which took effect Jan. 1, community water systems statewide are now required to complete lead sampling on the drinking water supplies of K-12 public schools and day care and preschools on public school properties built before 2010. Water systems must complete this mandatory sampling by July 1, 2019.
With about 12 months to go before the deadline, approximately 30 percent of California’s 10,000 public schools have been sampled for lead. Water systems that do not complete this mandatory sampling could face enforcement action from the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water.
Most public, K-12 schools in California are served by the more than 1,200 community water systems in the state. While these community water systems extensively and regularly test their drinking water for lead, lead could get into clean water at a school campus if there were corroded pipes or old fixtures at the school.
Because California has newer infrastructure and less corrosive water than other parts of the country, less than 1 percent of all samples collected so far have detected elevated levels of lead, according to the Water Resources Control Board.