Berkeley Unified School District addresses lead contamination at 6 affected schools

Grace Zhang/Staff

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Repairs and replacements are currently underway at the water sources of six schools in the Berkeley Unified School District, or BUSD, which were found to be in violation of BUSD guidelines for drinking water.

In early January, water sources at several BUSD schools were found to contain an excessive concentration of lead and were taken out of service. The affected schools include Berkeley High School, Willard Middle School, Jefferson Elementary School, John Muir Elementary School, LeConte Elementary School and Hopkins Early Childhood preschool.

The contamination in the water sources may have been caused by the corrosion of plumbing materials, such as valves and joints, according to BUSD spokesperson Charles Burress.

“We believe we have identified the likely plumbing elements causing the contamination and are replacing those,” Burress said. “Once they are replaced, we’ll do follow-up tests and make any needed further repairs before restoring them to service.”

Families and school staff of the six affected schools were notified after results of the samples — collected and studied by the East Bay Municipal Utility District in December — were received, according to Burress.

Contact Naira Khalid at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @nairakhalid.