School district staff are working to fix water problems on the campus of McClymonds High School , saying the most serious and immediate problems have been fixed.
After the school informed school district leadership of the seriousness of problems with the water supply, a district environmental health and safety manager went to school to test the water.
Staff found unsafe levels of lead coming from one water fountain at the football field and from the kitchen faucets in the cafeteria.
Lead was also discovered was in the showers in the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms. Those showers are out of commission.
On top of the lead problems, there is sediment in the water that can make it brownish in color.
Tests showed that the fountainhead and the kitchen faucets were the sources. Crews from the Buildings and Grounds division replaced all those items in the final days before the school year started.
Crews also installed new spigots (one is on the other side of the water fountain) at the football field so teams will have easy access to water.
Subsequent testing of the water in those locations shows that lead is no longer a problem, according to the district, which says it will make the test results available as soon as possible.
The shower heads – which are the source of the lead in the showers – will also be replaced. New shower head assemblies are being ordered, and the project is expected to be finished later in the fall.
The problem of sediment can be traced to McClymonds’ old pipes, which shed sediment and can cause cloudy water to come from the fountains and faucets until the sediment clears.
While this is not a health threat, the district plans to install filters on all water fountains in the school. In the meantime, the district has installed 11 water dispensers around campus, including in the cafeteria.
Students will not be able to drink from the fountains for the time-being.
Staff has also installed filters on the new kitchen faucets to ensure water used in the cafeteria is not only safe but entirely clear.
“We know this has been a challenging situation for the McClymonds community. We want everyone to know we share their concerns and want nothing but the best for our young people and our staff,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell.
A mid-range solution to the sediment issue in the kitchen and at the football field will require new pipes to be installed, which will necessitate help from East Bay MUD.
The long-term solution is to replace the entire piping system throughout the campus. That’s a large project with a price tag of about $2.3 million, which is in the planning stages and will take a year or more to complete.
While the most serious problems have been fixed, resolving the lead issue in the showers will take weeks, while fully resolving the sediment issue will take at least a year, according to the district.
“We will keep you, our students, staff, families and other stakeholders, apprised of the process. We will also be engaging the community to ensure that your voices help us determine the best, fastest and most cost-effective way to complete these changes for the school,” said Supt. Johnson-Trammell.