Senate Approves “Clean Water in Schools Act”
SACRAMENTO – The California State Senate today passed important legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) on a 39-0 vote to ensure that K-12 students across California have access to clean drinking water at school.
The bill will help to prevents students, teachers and other people from drinking contaminated water at schools that find significant sources of lead or other harmful contaminants Testing of drinking water at several San Ysidro School District schools earlier this year found high levels of lead and other contaminants.
Though the school district acted promptly to address the issue, those water fixtures had been in use since the early 1970’s.
In the Inland Empire, Chino Valley Unified School District had also identified issues with lead in their drinking water in 2013.
While these individual school districts may have acted promptly once the contamination problems were found, other school districts across California could still have unsafe drinking water due to old plumbing.
“Lead contaminated water can seriously hurt the lives and education of children.
By incentivizing schools to test water sources and address contamination through better access to state grants, SB 210 will finally give local schools the tools they need to protect schoolchildren from drinking unsafe water during the school day.” Senator Leyva introduced SB 334 in 2015 which sought to require that schools test their water sources and provide children with clean water.
Despite strong bipartisan support, Governor Brown vetoed the bill and directed the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to develop testing procedures for schools.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to lead and other contaminants is a significant health concern for young children, especially because they are more susceptible than adults to lead’s harmful effects.
Now advancing to the Assembly, SB 210 is supported by the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association, California School Boards Association, California State PTA, Children Now, Community Water Center and the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano County.