School Water Investigation – Part 3

LAUSD starts testing drinking fountains

April 2008 - The Los Angeles Unified School District has begun testing drinking fountains at all of its 800 schools.  It's part of a new district-wide plan to make sure the drinking water is safe at all schools. It's all in direct response to a KNBC investigation, which found dangerous amounts of lead in the drinking water at some schools.

It's going to take an entire year for the school district to test the fountains at every school. But officials are promising to find out where there's water with too much lead, and they say they'll do something about those problem fountains.

At 6 a.m., KNBC watched as a school district employee was at Marvin Avenue Elementary testing the drinking fountains. Across town at Calvert Street Elementary in Woodland Hills, another inspector was in the nurse's office, testing the drinking water there.

  This is the first time ever that LAUSD has done district-wide testing of its water.

 "I do not want any of our children to have any lead in their bloodstream," Superintendent David Brewer told KNBC's Joel Grover.

 The district plans to test the water at every one of its 800 schools, because most of them have fountains and pipes made with lead. As KNBC reported, the district, through occasional testing, has known for years that lead was seeping into the water.

 "Why didn't you start doing testing years ago?" Grover asked Brewer.

 "Well you know, Joel, that's a good question because it's the same question I asked. We should have our own, aggressive, proactive, testing program, and that's just what I've implemented," Brewer said.

 The superintendent has publicly promised to fix any fountains found to be unsafe.

 "We will either install special filters or re-pipe all of those fountains," Brewer said at an April 22 news conference.

 Fountains and pipes made with lead aren't unique to Los Angeles schools. That's why State Assemblyman Paul Krekorian is sponsoring a bill in the legislature to require and fund testing of water in every California school.

 "Frankly it's disgraceful that we haven't invested more in providing safe and healthful school environments for our students to learn in," says Krekorian.

 KNBC will monitor the testing at all 800 schools and will keep you updated as to what happens.

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