SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – This summer, we reported that one out of five California schools found detectable levels of lead in drinking water, but we also told you, hundreds of schools still hadn’t reported the required lead test results.
Now that school is back in session, CBS13 investigative reporter Julie Watts is digging into the updated data.
The law said schools had to test by July, but many schools still hadn’t submitted the results by the deadline.
As of September 9, about a quarter of California schools now report detectable levels of lead in school drinking water but it appears many schools in our area still haven’t submitted the results.
Based on the latest numbers, more than 10 percent of schools in Sacramento, Placer, and Stanislaus counties still haven’t reported the required test results to the state.
And more than 20 percent of Yolo, Solano, El Dorado, and San Joaquin County schools still haven’t reported them. Of those who have, some of the highest levels include George Sargeant Elementary in Roseville at 170 parts per billion lead and Green-Gate Center for Exception in Woodland at 140 parts per billion.
For perspective, the law requires action if lead is found at more than 15 parts per billion. Schools are required to report levels above 5.
But the American Academy of Pediatrics stressed that there is no safe level of lead — even trace amounts are linked to learning disabilities and developmental delays.
Health advocates point to many loopholes in this law. While there’s a deadline to test, there is no deadline for reporting. Private schools aren’t required to test at all and even public schools only have to test a small number of faucets.
We’ve reached out to lawmakers on this issue and will be following up.
So what are the checks and balances?
- If they find lead above 15 parts per billion, they have to remove that tap from service.
- They are also supposed to notify parents, but the law doesn’t specify how, and in many cases, it appears schools are posting it somewhere on their website where you’d only see it if you knew what to look for.
You can search for the lead test results at your child’s school, here.
CalPirg “Get the lead out” Parent Tool Kit https://calpirg.org/feature/cap/get-lead-out-back-school-toolkit
The nonprofit, CALPIRG has put together a tool kit to help guide parents in finding information about the lead levels at their school.
Water Boards Lead Water Sampling site: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/leadsamplinginschools.html
The state has also complied an interactive website with the latest testing data and an interactive map.