WARNER SPRINGS, Calif. — High levels of arsenic and E. Coli are plaguing a rural San Diego County school.
Parents and staff say they have been fighting for clean water for years.
Racks of bottled water containers lined Warner Springs Unified School District, which has to truck in gallons of water every week so that its more than 200 students have something clean to drink.
“It’s un-potable, you can’t drink it. You can’t wash your hands with it. You can’t cook with it,” said parent Tina Mancino.
Parents at Warner Springs Unified School District say their children have been dealing with high, unsafe levels of arsenic in their water since it was discovered in 2012.
“We’re still dealing with the same issue,” said Warner Springs Unified School District Superintendent David MacLeod. “We originally got a grant of $460,000 to come up with a solution and we are still going around and around in red tape and bureaucracy.”
Superintendent MacLeod says his staff have to carry gallons of water to their classrooms for the kids. The school ripped out water fountains, shut down sinks and had to install these hand-washing stations.
“I heard that I can get really sick from drinking any water from the school,” said student Joshua Mancino.
To make matters worse, the state issued a boil water notice for the school in May for E. Coli.
“They can’t just keep putting a bandaid on it by giving us bottled water,” said Mancino. “It’s not enough.”
The superintendent says the issue is now in front of the governor, which he says has put pressure on the State Water Resources Control Board. FOX 5 reached out to the board and has yet to hear back.
“We believe he’s putting political pressure on the water board and we actually have some hope. We have a new technical advisory team and they’re looking into it. They’ve made some promises. It’s too early to tell but hopefully they’re going to stick to the promise of they’re going to come up with a plan and a timeline,” said MacLeod.
The superintendent says the next meeting with the water board is set for the third Thursday of every month.
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