By Miriam Raftery
March 1, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- Two local school districts in La Mesa and Warner Springs are serving bottled water to students and staff due to water quality concerns.
La Mesa Spring Valley School District announced that it has voluntarily shut down drinking fountains and water used for cooking, while awaiting tests on drinking water quality. Superintendent Brian Marshall says the change is due to an “abundance of caution.”
The action comes after NBC 7 TV published a map showing location of schools built before 1986, which have the highest risk of lead piping. All but one school in the La Mesa Spring Valley District is older than1986.
Testing costs between $250 and $500 per school, Marshall told NBC, and the cost to provide students with bottled water is approximately $1,000 a week.
Tests recently showed that the San Ysidro school district has high levels of lead in its drinking water
The Warner Springs school district has also switched to bottled water after tests showed arsenic levels in the district’s well water that are more than double federal safety standards.
Senate Bill 1413, passed in 2010, requires school districts to provide safe drinking water to children. If water in pipes is found to be unsafe, schools can apply to the State Allocation Board for state funding to help pay for upgrades.