Officials Find Unsafe Lead Levels in Water at Clairemont Mesa French School

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A French language immersion school in Clairemont Mesa became the fourth campus in San Diego where water was found to have unsafe levels of lead, city officials said Thursday.

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At a meeting of the City Council’s Environment Committee, officials with the Public Utilities Department said La Petite Ecole was one of numerous schools to ask the city for testing.

Unsafe levels of lead were previously discovered at three San Diego Unified School District Schools — Birney Elementary School in University Heights, Emerson-Bandini Elementary School and San Diego Cooperative Charter. The latter two share a campus in Southcrest.

Problems at the SDUSD schools have been fixed, and no other district schools had water with unsafe amounts of lead. Concerns over the quality of water at schools grew earlier this year after contaminants were found at campuses in San Ysidro.

Besides the SDUSD, 38 other schools that receive water from the city of San Diego requested testing, according to the report.

At La Petite Ecole, administrator Thierry Pasquet told City News Service that the positive test came in mid-June, when five areas of the school were checked. Water coming from one sink in a section of a building constructed in 1953 had lead “above the recommended level,” Pasquet said.

He said officials subsequently tested 15 more locations on the campus, and a second sink on the same line also tested positive.

According to Pasquet, the water line was shut off so it won’t be accidentally used by students, who are out of school until September.

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Parents were immediately notified, and a handful had their children checked out, but none showed signs of adverse effects, he said.

Pasquet said the school, overseen by the French Ministry of Education, leases its space from the First Baptist Church of Clairemont Mesa, which is ultimately responsible for making repairs.

–City News Service

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