Central High West Campus water contamination

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The drinking fountains on the Central West High School campus could be turned off for a long time. (KFSN)

The drinking fountains on the Central West High School campus could be turned off for a long time. That's because higher than acceptable levels of a substance called Hexavalent Chromium 6 has been detected in the water coming from the school's well. Superintendent Mike Berg says the problem was detected because the school district routinely tests the water supply.

The State Water Resources Control Board identified a chromium level about 50% higher than the maximum level allowed. The substance is believed to raise the risk of cancer after long term exposure. As a result Berg says the district is taking precautions.

Berg said, "We're shutting the potable water supplies off, in terms of food preparation, water fountains and those type of things. And we are providing water fountains, bottled water delivery fountains."

The West High Campus and the nearby West Arts Center will have bottled water when the school year starts. Berg says the district is looking for a permanent solution.

Berg explained, "We have a contract now to drill a 700 foot well which is substantially deeper than we've traditionally done."

But if the well doesn't find clean water, then the district may try to hook up to the city water supplies in Fresno or Kerman. The State Water Resources Control Board will help with the financing. The agency has given the district until the end of August to come up with a plan.

The agency told Action News that so far: "Central Unified has been extremely responsive to our compliance order."

But they acknowledge it could take 2 to 5 years to fix the problem. The source of the Chromium is believed to be naturally occurring in the Kerman area, but perhaps made more concentrated because of the drought.



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healtheducationhealth watchfresnocalifornia waterwaterdroughtFresno
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