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Sac State: Tests Not Completed Yet For Lead Contamination In Drinking Fountains

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A few dozen drinking water faucets on the Sacramento State campus had to be replaced because of high lead levels last year.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Sacramento State says it will take longer than expected to test for lead contamination in the water for all of the university's drinking fountains. 
Steve Leland is the Environmental Health and Safety Director for the school.
He says about three dozen fountains have tested positive so far.
"This is a very time-consuming process following the methods that have been outlined by our consultant (California Industrial Hygiene Services) and the EPA methodology," says Leland. "Some of the locations have had to be re-sampled and we're waiting for the data to come back. Those were samples that came up as exceeding the 15-parts-per-billion have to be re-sampled before we can do any consideration on what we're going to do with the fountains." 
According to Leland, future action depends on the location of the lead.
"Some of them are in older buildings where we suspect that it's the 50-50 solder (50-percent tin, 50-percent lead) that was used back before the mid 1980's or so," says Leland. "But, some of them are in newer buildings where we suspect that it's the fixture itself where there's a small amount of lead used in the manufacture of the fixture, possibly a tank where there's a reservoir for cooling the water that's contributing to the lead load of the water."
Leland says 600 of the 665 water fountains have been tested.
The school had hoped to have all of the wells tested by now, but that likely won't happen until mid-May.
The school's facilities management staff has affixed signs to some fountains, or taped them off to allow water to sit in the pipes and fixtures prior to testing.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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