Water from drinking fountain at Birney Elementary School tests positive for lead

Posted at 1:05 PM, May 10, 2017

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Drinking water at a University Heights-area school has tested positive for lead, according to school officials.

In a letter sent to parents by Birney Elementary School's principal, it was confirmed that testing conducted by city Public Utilities Department workers took place at the campus on May 2.

On Tuesday, school officials learned a campus water fountain "exceeds the action level of 15 parts per billion (pbb) set by the State Water Resources Control Board via the Division of Drinking Water, while two other drinking fountains had elevated levels of lead."

Because of the positive test samples and elevated lead levels, the school is shutting off all drinking fountains until the problem is resolved. Bottled water will be provided on the campus.

School officials do not know when the drinking fountains will be turned on.

In late March, the San Diego Unified School District began testing water at all campuses and charter schools on district property after a district school reported its drinking water had tested positive for lead, bacteria and copper.

At least three schools in San Ysidro had their drinking water shut off due to lead.

San Diego Unified officials are posting test results on the district website. Anything labeled "below action level" for copper, lead and bacteria mean a school tested negative.

Officials are collecting water in one-liter bottles with up to five sources of water from each campus. Sources of water may include drinking fountains, cafeterias and food preparation areas, district officials said.

Updated results can be viewed at

Testing at San Diego Unified schools will continue until the end of the school year in June. Testing will be conducted before the school day begins.

Click here to learn more about lead testing of water in California schools