Pittsburg Unified School District Reassures Community Water is Safe in Pittsburg Schools


Pittsburg, CA– As water worries spread through schools in California and across the country, Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) is reassuring the Pittsburg community that water in all of its schools is safe. On January 2, 2018, the school district received a letter from the Water Treatment Plant in the City of Pittsburg stating, “All the lead sampling results meet California and Federal Guidelines.”

The letter and test results were presented to the School Board on January 24, 2018 and can be found on Pittsburg Unified School District’s website.

“In the past, PUSD conducted safe drinking water spot checks on our own with test kits at school sites,” said Matt Belasco, Director of Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation at Pittsburg Unified School District. “Once we were aware of the state mandate, we immediately started the water sample process with the City of Pittsburg’s Water Treatment Plant.”

Safety is a priority for the District and this includes providing clean water to students and staff throughout the District’s schools. In December 2017, PUSD put paperwork in motion with the City of Pittsburg to conduct lead testing at all PUSD school sites. This action was a result of Assembly Bill 746 (AB 746). On October 13, 2017, AB 746 was approved by California Governor, Jerry Brown. AB 746 states all California schools constructed before January 1, 2010, shall test for lead in the potable water system of the school site on or before July 1, 2019. The state of California mandated water agencies to pay for lead testing of drinking water in California schools.

The water testing at PUSD schools consisted of at least five water samples; samples were taken from all thirteen of Pittsburg’s schools. Additionally, testing was conducted at the Youth Development Center (YDC) on 1001 Stoneman Avenue and Pittsburg Adult Education Center (PAEC) on 1151 Stoneman Avenue. According to the sampling results, all of the water samples do not detect or are below the “Action Level” of 15 parts per billion. This is the level at which treatment or other action is not required.

“The District is pleased with the results of the water testing. This is reassurance to our community that drinking water is safe in our schools,” said Dr. Janet Schulze, Superintendent, Pittsburg Unified School District. “We will continue to monitor drinking water throughout PUSD on an ongoing basis.”

Further support for lead testing of water in California schools came from Mr. Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. On February 1, 2018, a press release from the California Department of Education stated, “Even at low levels, lead may cause a range of health effects including behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Children six years old and younger are most at risk because the brain is still developing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10% to 20% of total lead exposure for young children comes from drinking water.”

Pittsburg Unified School District is committed ensuring drinking water is clean and safe in our schools. If a community member has a concern about a school’s water, please contact Matt Belasco at (925) 473-2362.

Resources Regarding Lead Sampling of Drinking Water in California Schools:

California Water Boards: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/leadsamplinginschools.html

Assembly Bill No. 746: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB746

California Department of Education: New Drinking Water Testing for Schools: https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr18/yr18rel08.asp

Mercury News Story About Schools Testing Drinking Water: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/02/02/california-department-of-education-says-most-schools-must-test-their-drinking-water/


About Pittsburg Unified School District:

Awarded the College Board’s Gaston Caperton Opportunity Honor Roll award in 2016 for expanding access to college, Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) is one of 130 school districts across the nation recognized for creating opportunities for traditionally underrepresented students. PUSD is a K-12 district serving the diverse community of Pittsburg, California. Founded in 1933, the school system is committed to providing an excellent opportunity for all students to learn. Comprised of eight elementary schools, three junior high schools, one comprehensive high school, one alternative education high school, an adult school, independent study options, and a preschool program, the school district serves more than 11,500 students. PUSD is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, fifty minutes outside of downtown San Francisco.