​85 water fountains at Sacramento State shut down due to lead

Officials address lead concerns at town hall on campus

by Max Resnik, originally posted on January 26, 2017

A day after announcing researchers in the university’s Department of Environmental Studies discovered lead contamination in dozens of water stations, Sacramento State held a town hall to address the concerns from students and staff.

To combat the contamination, the university has shut down 85 affected water stations. Those include water fountains, sinks and water filling stations.

“It’s a combination of fountains, sinks where we can reasonably think that people are going to draw drinking water from and bottle filling stations,” said Justin Reginato, interim associate vice president of facilities management.


  • Lead found in water at various water stations at Sac State
  • Eighty-five fountains, sinks and water filling stations were shutdown
  • Forensic engineer being brought in to study, investigate situation

The university is also in the process of ordering and installing water filters on the impacted stations.

While some of those filters are already in place, water stations shown to have lead contamination will remain closed.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we’re going to wait to reopen them until after we consult with outside consultants and our forensic engineer,” Reginato said.

A forensic engineer is in the process of being hired. The engineer will be tasked with studying the water and investigating what created the lead contamination in some of the water stations on campus. That person is expected to be at Sac State “within days,” Reginato said.

A group of researchers with the university’s Department of Environmental Studies made the discovery while testing 449 water stations earlier this month.

Of the 85 shown to have some level of lead contamination, 27 are at or above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “action level,” which indicates lead in the water at 15 parts per billion.

The remaining 58 water stations showed levels at or above 5 parts per billion, which is the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s threshold for lead in bottled water.

“Make sure that you let the water run for about 30 seconds before you take it,” said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye, who took questions at the town hall.

Kasiyre said the groups most at-risk are children younger than 5, whose brains are rapidly developing, and pregnant and nursing mothers.

University officials said it’s not clear when the university last tested its water for lead as there are no regulations in place requiring them to do so.

Following the investigation and study by the forensic engineer and outside consultants, Reginato said a new protocol would be put in place.

The university is providing free bottled water in a number of locations on campus.

Those concerned about their possible exposure to lead are advised to contact their healthcare provider.


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