Lead tests: Final written notice for 11 Placer schools

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Placer County Water Agency is sending out final written notices this week to schools that have not yet had their drinking water tested for lead content under a 2017 state law.

So far, Placer Water has conducted tests in 34 of 45 schools it provides water to. A report to the agency board by Director of Technical Services Brent Smith said that one school had lead in water over benchmark levels.

“And that was at an isolated drinking fountain on a ball field,” Smith said. “The school immediately remedied the problem by removing the fixture from service and then replacing it.”

Follow-up tests showed no lead contamination, he said.

The tests have been required since a new law established in October 2017 requiring public water system like Placer Water who provide service to a school built before 2010 to test for lead by July 1, 2019.

According to the water agency, infants and young children are typically more vulnerable to lead in drinking water than the general population. If lead levels exceed 15 parts per billion, schools are required to take several actions, including notifying parents and guardians of students.

If the agency doesn’t hear from a district or school official after the final written notice, Placer Water will make one final contact by phone before the July 1 deadline.

If there is no response, the agency is required to report to the state a list of schools that have been tardy in lead testing.

The EPA reports that lead in drinking water can come from solder in pipes installed before 1986, faucets that may contain lead that can attach to the surface of galvanized pipes.

Early signs of lead poisoning in children include developmental delay, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss and fatigue.

Lead testing was conducted at several locations at each school. Lead exceeded the action level at the baseball field fountain at Loomis Grammar Elementary School.

Schools already tested for lead are:

Alta-Dutch Flat Elementary School

Holy Cross Lutheran Academy

Franklin Elementary School

H. Clarke Powers Elementary School

Loomis Basin Charter School

Loomis Grammar Elementary School

Placer Elementary School

Newcastle Elementary School

Harvest Ridge Charter

Onorato Educational Center

CTE Building

Pathways Charter School

Placer Union High School

Colfax High School

Del Oro High School

Antelope Creek Elementary School

Breen Elementary School

Cobblestone Elementary School

Granite Oaks Middle School

Parker Whitney Elementary School

Penryn Elementary School

Rock Creek Elementary School

Rocklin Elementary School

Rocklin High School

Ruhkala Elementary School

Sierra Elementary School

Spring View Middle School

Sunset Ranch Elementary School

Twin Oaks Elementary School

Valley View Elementary School

Victory High School

Whitney High School

Stoneridge Elementary