California’s new law AB 746 calls for samples of water from drinking sources at public schools to be tested for the presence of lead, and Clovis Unified is fully participating. The law is designed to ensure drinking supplies are clear of actionable levels of lead.
This law requires that by July 1, 2019, tests have been completed at all public schools by the water supplying entities. Clovis Unified has already coordinated with local water agencies for testing on school sites to meet the requirements of AB746.
Additionally, in an effort to be even more proactive, the district has coordinated to test exterior drinking fountains at all of its schools. This goes above the requirements of AB746 but is part of the district’s ongoing commitment to ensure the safety and the well-being of students and staff.
The following provides more information:
According to the EPA, high levels of lead in drinking water may pose a hazard to young children 6 years old and under, and pregnant women. To be of significant concern, the exposure would need to be prolonged over time. Of interest, students in California schools spend approximately 15 percent of their time at school out of a full calendar year.
Tests are conducted by the water supplier and not the school district. Clovis Unified schools’ water suppliers are the City of Fresno, the City of Clovis and the Pinedale Water District.
- Schools serviced by the City of Fresno and Pinedale Water District for water have been tested.
- Schools serviced by the City of Clovis are currently in the process of being tested. There are 27 sites and the results are expected to be available later in the school year. This will meet the state’s deadline of July 2019.
- Two CUSD schools built after 2010 are exempt from testing: Boris Elementary and Oraze Elementary
At each school site, samples are drawn from five of the most frequently used locations on the site, such as a faucet, fountain, kitchen sink, snack bar or playground. Lead levels, if detected, are measured in parts per billion. A reportable level of lead is defined as a sample returning with a lead level of 15 parts per billion or higher. Anything below that number is considered non-reportable.
The water supplier (City of Clovis, City of Fresno or Pinedale Water District) reports all results to the state as required by the law. In Clovis Unified, if any sample returns with a reportable finding, Clovis Unified will address that issue and conduct its own follow-up testing to confirm the finding has been mitigated.
If a reportable lead level was a water source issue, all of the samples from a school site would show the presence of lead. That has not been the case in Clovis Unified. From the completed tests so far, there have been a small number of isolated faucets that show the presence of lead (most only in trace amounts), indicating a need for replacement or maintenance. Any faucet that tested positive for even the smallest presence of lead has been replaced and retested to ensure there are no additional trace amounts present.
Results so far found 13 Clovis Unified schools to be free of any reportable levels. Reportable levels were detected in one of the five samples at each of the following sites: Mountain View Elementary, Nelson Elementary, Granite Ridge Intermediate and Clovis West High. In each case, Clovis Unified fixed or replaced the source fixture/faucet, conducted retesting of the water and determined the issue had been resolved. Twenty-seven schools’ water will soon be tested by the City of Clovis with results pending, and two newer schools are exempt.