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Water Testing

SFUSD has been testing for lead in drinking water and making plumbing upgrades in schools since the 1980s. As part of school modernization projects, a majority of sites have had their fixtures and or plumbing replaced as necessary. At the end of construction, newly installed drinking fixtures at those schools were tested and cleared.

The district also tests and clears each new water bottle filling station before allowing students to use them. Furthermore, custodians are required to flush drinking fountains each morning to remove any sediments from the water source.

Since April 2017, SFUSD has been partnering with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to voluntarily begin a new round of water testing. Our program complies with a new California state requirement for water testing in schools.

View Testing Results Online

The State Water Resources Control Board released a new online map that shows which public schools in California have had their drinking water tested for lead. Under state law effective Jan. 1, 2018, community water systems must complete lead sampling on the drinking water supplies of K-12 public schools and day care and preschools on schools built before 2010. Water systems must complete this mandatory sampling by July 1, 2019. Visit the State Water Board’s webpage.

Testing Procedure

While community water systems (like the SFPUC) extensively and regularly test drinking water for lead, lead can get into clean water at a school campus if there are corroded pipes or old fixtures at the school. For this reason, the CA State Water Resources Control Board is now requiring all community water systems to test school drinking water upon request by school officials.

  1. Schools are tested in batches with priority given to testing elementary schools first.
  2. During the initial round of testing, the SFPUC collects five samples per site at the most frequently used fixtures as identified by school principals. Sampling locations can include drinking fountains, cafeteria and food preparation areas, and reusable water bottle filling stations.
  3. The SFPUC provides the results to the district within 10 business days of receiving them from the lab, or w/in 2 school business days if the result is greater than the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb).
  4. SFUSD will notify the principal and school community upon hearing of lead levels above the EPA action limit at any of its sites.

Fixtures that have lead tests above the regulatory action level are immediately taken out of service and an alternate source of water is provided if onsite water sources are significantly impacted. Custodial flushing routines may also be modified.

SFUSD will develop permanent remediation plans should they be necessary due to high readings. Remediation plans can include the installation of lead filters, replacement of fixtures, and, in some instances, pipe replacement.

Lead Test Results

The district has completed testing of all K-12 schools, and the following schools are the only ones with fixtures that exceed the EPA regulatory action level for lead (15 ppb):

The district is working with its hazmat consultant to pinpoint the source of the lead contamination and develop a remediation plan. In the meantime, these sites have access to bottled water as needed.

SFPUC test results for all schools are available online.

Health Screenings

The faucets with results above the action level have varying levels of use. If you are concerned that your child may have been exposed, the first step is to get a blood lead level test. Every child in San Francisco is eligible for health insurance coverage, and all health insurance plans are required to pay for the blood lead test.

If you need help finding a free place to test your child, you may call the CA Department of Public Health Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health toll-free hotline at 800-300-9950.