Under new California State regulations, including Assembly Bill 746, community water systems in California are testing for lead in drinking water at pre-kindergarten to 12th grade school sites in the State’s public schools. Lead and copper in water frequently originate from the corrosion of plumbing materials which allows the metals to leach into tap water.
In December of 2017, we began working with our local water agency, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), to test water samples from drinking fountains and faucets used for food-preparation at all of our schools. EBMUD is testing five outlets at each site without charge to the District.
We are fortunate to have local bond funding that have kept our facilities renovated and modernized and a maintenance parcel tax to ensure that our campuses are well maintained and updated. As a result, we have been pleased to find that preliminary results are quite encouraging. This web page is designed to provide an overview of our lead-testing results with updates when we receive them.
About Lead Levels
Assembly Bill 746 sets a regulatory reporting and action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) (or 15 micrograms per liter) for lead in drinking water in schools.
According to State Water Resources Control Board recommendations, if the lead level in a first-draw drinking water sample collected on a drinking water fixture at the school campus “exceeds 15 ppb“, the fixture must be removed from service, and if corrective action is taken, the fixture should be re-tested to confirm the lead level in water is not higher than the action level before being returned to service. School communities must be informed of any such lead findings, and as part of the investigation, water at the main entry point to the school campus must be tested.
Our BUSD Protocol
To ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, we are following the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics and plan to take any fixture that tests at 1 part per billion or higher out of service until the source is identified and remediated, and then retested.
Testing & Reporting Timeline
November 2017: Establish schedule and testing protocol with EBMUD.
December 2017: Under the guidelines of the California Water Resources Control Board and Assembly Bill 746, EBMUD conducted laboratory testing of water samples from five high-use drinking fountains/fixtures at each of the twenty (20) BUSD pre-K to 12th grade school sites.
January 2018: Service to any of the tested drinking water fixtures with test results showing concentration of lead in collected water samples at 1 ppb or above were taken out of service (per the 2016 recommendation from the American Association of Pediatrics)
Week of January 22, 2018: Water quality notification letters to be sent to each school community regarding results of sample water testing conducted in December 2017.
Ten Month Plan for Additional Testing and Action on Removing Additional Fixtures :
- Identify the cause of contamination for each tested fixture with a sample showing 1 ppb or above;
- Identify and test similar fixtures;
- Remove any fixture that tests at 1 ppb or above;
- Remediate each fixture, and
- Re-test before returning the drinking water fixture to service.
EBMUD Test Results
The lab results from the December water samples from five high-use water fixtures at each of the 20 BUSD pre-K-12 school sites found only one fixture with water testing above the state reporting and action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) of lead. The one drinking fountain at Willard Middle School showed 17 ppb in the sample and was immediately taken out of service.
|School Site||Date Tested||Results||Actions|
|Berkeley High School||12/13/17||6.2 and 3.2 ppb at two water sources||Water sources taken out of service|
|Berkeley Technical Academy||12/14/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Martin Luther King Middle School||12/16/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Willard Middle School||12/13/2017||17 and 2.0 ppb at two water sources||Water sources taken out of service|
|Longfellow Middle School||12/14/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|REALM Middle School||12/14/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Berkeley Arts Magnet Elementary School||12/15/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Cragmont Elementary School||12/12/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Emerson Elementary||12/12/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Jefferson Elementary School||12/15/17||3.9 and 2.5 ppb at two water sources||Water sources taken out of service|
|John Muir Elementary School||12/12/17||1.2 and 2.1 ppb at two water sources||Water sources taken out of service|
|LeConte Elementary School||12/12/17||1.1 and 2.5 ppb at two water sources||Water sources taken out of service|
|Malcolm X Elementary School||12/13/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Oxford Elementary School||12/12/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Rosa Parks Elementary School||12/14/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Thousand Oaks Elementary School||12/12/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Washington Elementary School||12/13/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Hopkins Preschool||12/16/17||5.4 ppb at one classroom sink||Water source taken out of service|
|King CDC Preschool||12/16/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|Franklin PN Preschool||12/15/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
|University Child Education Center (non-BUSD operation)||12/15/17||Results are within BUSD Guidelines for Drinking Water|
The Division of Drinking Water (DDW), in collaboration with the California Department of Education, has taken the initiative to begin testing for lead in drinking water at all public K-12 schools. In early 2017, DDW and Local Primacy Agencies issued amendments to the domestic water supply permits of approximately 1,200 community water systems so that schools that are served by a public water system could request assistance from their public water system to conduct water sampling for lead and receive technical assistance if an elevated lead sample is found. To further safeguard water quality in California’s K-12 public schools, California Assembly Bill 746 published on October 12, 2017, effective January 1, 2018, requires community water system to test lead levels, by July 1, 2019, in drinking water at all California public, K-12 school sites that were constructed before January 1, 2010. This webpage contains information on both the permit amendments and AB 746.