8/23 - Update on site water sampling and daily flushing requirements

To: All site administrators

From: Chief Operations Officer Drew Rowlands

Subject: Update on water sampling and daily flushing requirements

 

As you know, the district has been sampling drinking water for elevated levels of lead. Please carefully review the water sampling and daily water flushing information contained in this memorandum. 

Background

Under a statewide program, the City of San Diego took up to five samples of drinking water at each school site between April and June 2017. This state program and partnership with the city excluded early childhood education, child development centers, and administrative centers. Therefore, the district has been conducting internal sampling of those locations throughout the summer.  

As results were delivered to the district, schools and families were quickly notified. Notifications explained whether the results were below or above the state and federal lead action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) and whether corrective action was required. 

New Water Remediation Plan

After engaging stakeholders and subject matter experts, the San Diego Unified School District determined that more could be done to protect the health of students and staff. 

In July, the Board of Education adopted a visionary drinking water remediation plan that reduced the district’s threshold for action to 5 parts per billion. This new lead action level is the lowest among California school districts and matches the Food and Drug Administration’s standard for bottled drinking water.

In addition, the plan specifies that the district will sample all remaining drinking water outlets that were not tested under the state program and partnership with the City of San Diego. The district has committed to securing and remediating any drinking water outlet that exceeds the district’s new threshold of 5 parts per billion, including drinking water outlets previously sampled by the City of San Diego. This testing and remediation effort will take several years to complete, but in the meantime all drinking water fixtures that are above the district’s new action level will be secured by the first day of school. 

Water Flushing

Chemical reactions that allow lead to leech into drinking water are more likely to occur the longer water sits in the piping system without use.  Therefore, until all drinking water sampling and remediation where necessary is completed, daily flushing of all water outlets used for drinking and/or food preparation is to continue at all locations. It is each site administrator’s responsibility to make sure water flushing is taking place on their site. Please review the following water flushing instructions:

-Flush all water outlets used for drinking and/or food preparation for a minimum of 1 minute on the morning of the first day of school.  

Continue daily flushing of all water outlets used for drinking and/or food preparation for a minimum of 1 minute every morning. 

-Certify by the 15th of each month that water flushing is taking place. The reporting link is https://www.sandiegounified.org/PrincipalWaterReport.

We understand that daily water flushing is burdensome, but it is a critical interim step that protects the health of students and staff.  Site administrators are encouraged to explore creative options to accomplish all daily water flushing, such as assigning it as classroom duty.  The district’s Safety Office will provide updated water sampling instructions to you once all water outlets used for drinking and/or food preparation at your location are shown to be below the district’s lead action level.  

If you have any questions, please contact the San Diego Unified Safety Office at 858-627-7174.

Sincerely,

W. Drew Rowlands

Signed Memo in PDF