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Over 40 Water Fountains On Sac State Campus Exceeded Federal Standard For Lead

(Vanessa S. Nelson/Capital Public Radio)

There are nine drinking fountains located inside Eureka Hall showing high levels of lead contamination. Ways to resolve the problem were discussed at an open forum in Mendocino Hall on the Sacramento State Campus May 15, 2017.

(Vanessa S. Nelson/Capital Public Radio)

Of the 782 water fountains tested on campus, 517 tested positive for a lead level of more than .5 parts per billion and 43 exceeded the federal standard for levels of 15 parts per billion.

Justin Reginato is with the Facilities Management Department. He says 43 new fountains are on order and will be installed with a water filter for each. He says the fountains will be tested once they are installed.

"We're not going to assume that because we replace them that they're fixed," says Reginato. "Once we're confident and once they test below the 15 parts per billion, then we'll release them to the public."

The frequency of testing after that will likely be determined by the location of each fountain, and the number of times it is used.

"The debate hasn't been settled how often we have to test them after that. So, we're still discussing that internally. But, we will be testing them," Reginato says.

He says the fixtures have not been sent because of a parts shortage. The school has not selected a filter manufacturer.

Sacramento County Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye says the concern is an accumulation of lead in the blood. Anything more than 10 milligrams per deciliter can cause health problems.

"You'd see such things as high blood pressure and again, those are things that would occur after a very long time, as well as kidney disease," Kasirye says. "But, otherwise, if it's someone who is just taking it occasionally, the risk is low."

She says paint and dust are much more likely than drinking water to cause significant lead levels in a person's blood.

The school says about 90 students have had their blood tested for lead poisoning and all have had negligible readings. Free testing is still available.

The school says it will not replace faucets in bathrooms or showers because of cost.

Mike Lee is Vice President of Administration and the Chief Financial Officer for the university.
 
"Once you go beyond the water fixtures and start to go behind the wall of a building and get into the pipes, you really get into a major cost issue that we may not be able to afford."

The school has issued a warning to faculty and students to avoid drinking from anything other than a fountain.

The new water fountains and filters have a projected cost $86,000.

Of the 53 facilities on campus, 48 had at least one fountain test positive for lead.

Remediation Status of Drinking Water Outlets With Exceedances of the Action Level by Capital Public Radio on Scribd

Lead Concentration of the Drinking Water for Each Outlet Sampled by Capital Public Radio on Scribd

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