State Water Board: "Some North State lead test results incorrect"

Apr 27, 2016 11:18 AM by News Staff

A nationwide study showing lead in drinking water caused some alarm for a handful of schools and businesses in Butte County.

The state water board says the publication was inaccurate in all of the north state cases.

A recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency shows unsafe lead levels in the water of nearly a dozen North State schools and businesses.

But the state water board says these numbers are incorrect.

"On the Nord School samples, those samples were held stagnant too long in the pipes,” said Reese Crenshaw, an engineer with the state water board. “The maximum is 12 hours stagnant. Those were re-sampled and they were ok."

The report listed unsafe lead levels at locations including Silver Dollar Fair Ground, Big Bend Mobile Home Park and Willows Mobile Home and RV Community Park.

"At Del Oro Water Company, those samples, the lead and copper samples were switched, so it was a database typo," Crenshaw said.

Butte County Environmental Health works directly under the state water board. They say some errors were made by those who actually sent in the samples from the taps.

"It is common that the people who take these samples do not follow the required guidelines for sampling," said Elaine McSpadden, environmental health specialist.

Mistakes were also made at the state level.

"We are striving to improve our entry of data,” Crenshaw said. “Numbers have to be transcribed into the database by hand. Unfortunately, the bad results were submitted and they don't get erased when the new results come in."

Crenshaw said lead is not likely to be a problem in much of the North State. Water in the valley is generally hard, and not corrosive.

"If you have corrosive water it can leach the lead and copper out of the plumbing facilities,” McSpadden said. “Butte County does not have any reason for concern regarding this water quality situation."

The state water board said if there were truly a problem at a school or business, there would be mandatory action taken to fix the problem.


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