Tests show 3 San Francisco schools with high levels of lead in water

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Three San Francisco public schools have high levels of lead in the water, according to tests by the school district.

Three San Francisco public schools have high levels of lead in the water, according to tests by the school district.

They include two elementary schools, West Portal and Malcom X, as well as San Francisco International High School.

In all, 72 schools have been tested.

The district says the source of lead is drinking fixtures, which are being replaced.

Click here for a full list of schools that have been tested and click here for a list of schools that will be tested sometime this year.

Information from the San Francisco Unified School District:

Water testing has been happening since the 1980s:

  • The SFUSD has been testing school water sources since the 1980s.

  • Since 2003, SFUSD has been providing upgrades to school sites (seismic, fire and life safety, ADA) through the most recent Bond program. All newly installed drinking fixtures at these sites were tested and cleared for lead levels.

  • We are currently installing tap-water bottle filling stations in every school. To date a total of 82 stations have been installed in 51 schools.

SFUSD is partnering with PUC to test all school sites for water lead levels:

  • Starting this past April, SFUSD and the SFPUC began a new round of voluntary water testing in schools.

  • So far 72 schools have been tested under this new testing initiative. Of the 72 schools where fixtures were tested, 3 schools found one or more fixtures with actionable lead levels. These are West Portal Elementary, Malcolm X Elementary and San Francisco International High School.

  • In mid-October 2017, a California state law came into effect that requires water testing in all California public schools.


The water is good and is tested regularly by the SFPUC but, in some cases, a fixture or area of piping may be problematic:

  • Based on guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), school drinking water fixtures that exceed 15 parts lead per billion 'exceed the actionable level.'

  • The following is enacted when a fixture exceeds the actionable level: The fixture is shut down and cannot be used, If needed, bottled water is provided to the school, this continues until water from the fixture is cleared for consumption.

  • Anytime a school is tested and a test result is returned as above the actionable level, we will notify parents.

Related Topics:
educationhealthchildrenchildren's healthdrinking waterwaterschoolSan Francisco
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