Drinking fixtures at Grant Union High School have been turned off after elevated levels of lead and copper were found in the water, according to the Twin Rivers School District.
The Del Paso Heights high school had water from various sinks in the building tested in late July, and were alerted to the levels of lead and copper last Thursday. In response, the school then did a retest of eight water fountains and faucets. The results of that test were consistent with the first test. The school also tested the well that the water comes from, which has been cleared of any problems.
When school started at Grant High on Monday, students and staff were provided bottled drinking water by the Twin Rivers Unified School District. According to Zenobia Gerald, the director of communications at Twin Rivers Unified School District, the district has supplied over 4,000 bottles of water to members of the school.
The bottles are on supply in classrooms and cafeterias. In addition, parents and students have been notified of the lead and copper issue, and signs have been posted around the school reminding people not to drink the water until the issue is resolved.
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According to the Sacramento County’s Public Health office, it is safe for students and staff to use the water to wash their hands because lead and copper cannot be absorbed through the skin.
According to Brenda Bongiorno, a spokeswoman with the Department of Health Services, the solution to the contaminated water depends on the source of the contamination, which has yet to be determined. But Grant High has never had a problem with lead contamination in the past, and was on a reduced monitoring schedule, meaning their water was checked for lead and copper problems every three years.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, drinking lead-contaminated water can lead to multiple symptoms, including increased blood pressure and decreased kidney function in adults. It is particularly harmful for children aged 6 and younger.