An Open Letter to Governor Gavin Newsome on How We Can Solve Lead Contaminated Water Fountains in California Schools | PATHWATER

An Open Letter to Governor Gavin Newsom on How We Can Solve Lead Contaminated Water Fountains in California Schools

We're writing to you, Governor Gavin Newsom, about proposed solutions for cleaning up lead-contaminated water fountains in California schools. We believe in your mission to ensuring access to clean drinking water for all Californians. 

How many Californians know that more than 1 million of our people are advised not to drink their tap water because regulators have deemed it to be unsafe? Another estimated 1 million use wells that are not even tested by the state.

How many Californians are aware that the amount of lead in our water and particularly, our children’s water at schools are up for debate?

In California, we follow EPA guidelines of limiting the total amount of allowable lead to 15 ppb (parts per billion) over a certain percent of tests before alarm bells are raised. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends just 1ppb. Most shockingly, the Federal Centers for Disease Control say there is no safe level.


Exposure to lead can harm a child's health | PATHWATER

Once Upon a Time, we had a government that PROMOTED THE GENERAL WELFARE.

Once Upon a Time, our early corporations were chartered to perform a specific public function.

They built bridges and dug canals and then were required to terminate once their duties were fulfilled. Yes, the General Welfare was served, and people also made profits. Interesting way of doing business, right?


Here in California, we have been trying to clean up our water for some time. Governor Gavin Newsom and our legislature deserve a pat on the back for taking action during his first week in office and signing a bill (SB200) whose goal is to see that all Californians have access to clean water. And now, hopefully, getting approved quickly is AB48 which is aimed to focus bond money on schools and the water fountains on campus that often leach toxins from ancient pipes and fixtures.

The cost of repairing our infrastructure is massive and time-consuming. Look at the fire-storm that was Flint, Michigan. Still a nightmare for those citizens. Our Central Valley, home to the massive Agricultural Industry is particularly hard hit. Current farming practices have polluted water sources in the many rural communities. The State of California is providing bottled water to 18,000 people in 51 counties, according to a quote in an AP article from George Kostyrko of the State Water Resources Control Board. This, he said, has cost $4 million.


California also approved a $7.5 billion water bond in 2014. In 2013, the State initiated cap and trade in order to improve our environment. The program has generated more than $9.5 billion. It's supposed to help, but the concept of allowing the biggest polluters- think oil refineries and factory farms- to buy credits, so they continue polluting is rather contrarian.


SB200 will be contributing $130 million per year over the next 10 years. Democratic State Senator, Bill Monning has said the adverse impact of climate change is accelerating the decline of groundwater basins and dredging up naturally occurring environmental contaminants.

AB48 would set forth the Kindergarten-Community Colleges Public Education Facilities Bond Acts of 2020 and 2022 as state general obligation bond acts that would provide $13,000,000,000 and an unspecified amount of funds, respectively, to construct and modernize education facilities, as specified. 


I guess the question is, what is enough money to repair our ailing water infrastructure? If a major industry like agriculture is allowed to continue polluting just because they contribute their CAP AND TRADE, how are the Central Valley communities going to ever get clean water? Kind of reminds me of how we're allowing 80% of plastic bottles to continue being injected into our environment. How could they ever be part of our Circular Economy plan?


What is a circular economy?


In 2017, the state water board launched an initiative to encourage the approximately 9,000 K-12 schools in California to test their water for lead. A few months later, by enacting AB 746, the Legislature ordered testing at all schools built before 2010.


Out of more than 33,000 fixtures for which results are available, 291 exceeded the threshold, according to the State's data. All but 44 have been fixed or removed, state officials said.


Lead levels in California schools' drinking water | PATHWATER


Yes, California is making needed repairs and fixes. In the 2018-2019 year, California had 1,037 School Districts. That equaled 10,521 Schools. If we value our children as the future in our state, I have to ask the question…. how do we fix this critical infrastructure for the kids and their future?


PATHWATER on BuzzFeed helping LA High School with clean water


In case you missed it: At LA High School, if all students drank 64 oz of water while at school, they would use 2,688,000 plastic water bottles. If the students refilled a PATHWATER bottle 5 times or for the entire school year…, oh, I’ll let you do that calculation yourself. It’s more impressive that way. Note: that PATHWATER bottle sells at $2.19. Divide that by the mystical 5 refills. Remember, with aluminum being infinitely recyclable our citizens and students will be contributing to California’s goal of creating a circular economy, not to mention the horrors that plastic has inflicted on the environment.


PATHWATER could be the ideal company that our country’s founders envisioned. Sure, we are interested in making a profit, but we are mostly interested in contributing to our country’s GENERAL WELFARE, a concept once very important to the founding of this country.


PATHWATER offers refill stations along with their unique answer to the plastic crisis at PUC School District


Vernon Davis and PATHWATER get students to ban plastic


PATHWATER offers refill stations along with their unique answer to the plastic crisis, a reusable aluminum bottled water. By marrying the stations to refillable, infinitely recyclable aluminum bottles, PATHWATER is working school by school to change to deliver the most well-rounded solutions. (insert short-cut to locations) These fine corporate citizens even offer 1 free refill station per 2,000 students to schools that BAN single-use plastic bottled water. You read it correctly. 


Keeping students’ brains hydrated and focused. Oh, and teachers, maybe a little less edgy.


The PATHWATER Solution

We have the solution, we just need infrastructure funding to get refill stations installed and old piping removed. Here’s a list of benefits our solution offers:

  • Win-win because we can beat the plastic crisis as we tackle clean water access
  • PATHWATER is giving away 1 FREE REFILL STATION per 2,000 students for schools that BAN single-use plastic bottled water
  • Puts aluminum in the hands of students 
  • Students who can’t afford to buy bottled water every day 
  • Aluminum is infinitely recyclable 
  • Aluminum is part of a circular economy
  • At $2.19/bottle with one student refilling just 5 times = .44 cents per use
  • PSA Program supports students on-campus for clean water and plastic-free bottled water experience
  • Getting youth access to clean water
  • Banning single-use plastic bottled water
  • Improving the environment via reuse
  • Improves California economy with domestic aluminum recycling


Governor Newsom met up with some people in Fresno County that receive 8-gallon jugs of water every two weeks through a grant program. One woman told him about her pouring a jug of water over her son’s head so he can bathe — the Fifth largest economy in the world. Apparently, money ain’t everything. We need to deliver clean drinking water in schools to our students ASAP, and we’re on a mission to do things the right way. #RefillNotLandfill


RefillNotLandfill | PATHWATER



Ensuring access to clean, safe drinking water is a problem California has been working to solve. PATHWATER has also been working to bring clean water solutions to schools for some time now. We have market solutions - our free refill stations and reusable, aluminum bottle for students; we just need the infrastructure support as laid out in these California bills. There are non-profits like Habits of Waste and companies like PATHWATER who are dedicated to solving this issue for California Students. With the support of Governor Newsom and the allocation of the California budget for fixing school infrastructure, we can see this issue solved. We believe with the right hands on deck, ensuring clean drinking water for students can quickly come to fruition. “Plastic pollution and water pollution are directly intertwined. Both are areas I work hard to solve every day. I believe we can collectively make a better future for our kids and their kids by taking swift action on the lead issue in CA schools,” Ali Orabi, Co-founder and V.P. of Marketing at PATHWATER.


Care as much as we do? Tell someone! Use the share buttons below to spread this message and tag @GavinNewsom, to let him know we care, and we support his efforts to provide clean water for all.




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