Water Testing

This summer EH&S took water samples from various buildings on campus. Below is an explanation of the testing and results.

Testing Results (Excel)


Two CSU campuses, Sacramento and Long Beach, tested the drinking water on their campuses and found that some points of delivery (fixtures) tested above the EPA action limit for lead of 15 parts per billion (PPB).  As a precautionary step, Cal Poly Humboldt’s administration has decided to proactively test our drinking water to ensure we meet the standard.

The source of drinking water on campus

Water on campus is supplied by the City of Arcata.  Their water quality reports can be obtained from:  http://www.cityofarcata.org/327/Water-Quality-Reports

Where does lead come from?

While the City of Arcata has determined the water coming into campus meets regulatory requirements, it is possible pipes and drinking fountains could introduce lead into the water.  The purpose of the testing is to identify fixtures (if any) yielding an elevated level of lead.

Why are we testing during the summer?

Testing during the summer break will allow us to follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s testing method.  This method requires fixtures to not be used for at least 8 hours and then tested.  Testing while the campus is minimally occupied will decrease disruptions and ensure sample validity.

What if a fixture’s test results exceed the standard?

Fixtures which test higher than the 15 ppb will be followed up with further testing to determine where the lead is coming from, but will be taken out of service while being investigated. Once we have more information-decisions will be made on the next steps which could include replacing the fixture, replacing pipes, taking the sink or fountain out of service completely or instituting management practices (flushing of sinks or fountains to ensure stagnant water has been purged).

Where will I obtain drinking water if my normal fixture has been taken out of service?

Depending on the proximity of the next available fixture, the University will provide an alternative source of drinking water in an appropriate location- if necessary.

Why don't I see my building listed in the test results?

Humboldt tests were conducted strategically, focusing first on the faucets and fixtures often used by children, who are vulnerable to lead exposure. Buildings were then chosen by their original construction date and one building per decade was selected. If you do not see results for the building you work in, it is because it was not tested.

How do I find out more about lead in drinking water?

If you have questions about this testing or results, please direct them to ehs@humboldt.edu

If you need a better understanding of lead, please visit one of the sites below: