Lead in Drinking Water at LAUSD Schools
The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) in a joint effort with Facilities Services Division continues to assess and evaluate the lead levels in the drinking water of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) buildings to ensure that they meet or exceed all State and Federal requirements related to lead in drinking water standards, and to ensure the safety of the faculty and students. Providing a safe environment for the students and faculty, and visitors, is LAUSD’s highest priority.
Lead is a naturally occurring element that can be harmful to humans when ingested or inhaled, particularly to children under the age of six. Lead has been historically used in plumbing, paint and other building materials. While there are many potential sources of lead, such as old deteriorated paint, lead in the air from industrial emissions, lead in the soil from cars using leaded gasoline and consumer products (imported candy, medicines, toys, dishes, etc.), this webpage pertains to lead in drinking water.
In 1988, the District tested drinking water fountains and confirmed proper flushing of fixtures reduces lead levels to acceptable limits as established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in almost all instances. In those situations where flushing did not reduce the lead content below the EPA’s Action Level of 15 parts per billion (ppb), the fountains were taken out of service. At that time, the District instituted a policy requiring the flushing of drinking water fountains for at least 30 seconds prior to the first use of the day to ensure the safety of students and staff. This policy is still in effect today. Please see Reference Guide 3930.6, Daily Flushing Requirements For Drinking Fountains and Faucets.
The policy requires all schools to flush each drinking water source (Active Outlets) for 30 seconds prior to first consumption each day. The following fixtures are considered drinking water sources:
- All drinking water fountains as known as bubblers;
- Faucets in food preparation areas and health or nurse’s offices, having at least one (1) drinking source in each area;
- Glass filler and bottle filling stations.
The following are not considered drinking water sources and are not required to be flushed:
- Faucets labeled “For Hand Washing Only, Do Not Drink from Faucet”, “Laboratory Use Only”, and “Not a Drinking Source;”
- Restroom/ bathroom sink faucets;
- Hopper sinks in custodial closets;
- Quick couplers or quills used on irrigation devices (i.e. sprinklers);
- Hose bibs – fixtures that connect to a water hose.
Exempting Schools from Daily Flushing
Schools where all drinking water sources have been tested and are below the EPA’s action level (15 ppb) without flushing are eligible for exemption from the daily flushing requirement. Only those schools that have been notified in writing by OEHS may cease daily flushing. A current list of schools that have been exempted from the flushing requirement is available at https://achieve.lausd.net/Page/3956.
Drinking Water Test Results
You may view drinking water results for schools at http://www.laschools.org/new-site/my-school/principal-search. Once there, you may search and select the school of interest. The most recent test results may be found under the Resources heading on the left side of the page. Click on “Drinking Water Quality Data”.
Additional Information on Lead in Drinking Water
The EPA’s Drinking Water Testing Requirements are referenced in the EPA’s Training, Testing, Telling (3Ts) Toolkit at https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/3ts-reducing-lead-drinking-water-toolkit.
The County of Los Angeles Public Health Department has a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program with Health Educations Services which can be reached at 1 (800) 524-5323 or you can go to the website at http://lapublichealth.org/lead.