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Expanded Testing Revealing Extent Of Water Problem In NE Fresno

The City of Fresno is getting the first round of results from expanded testing of discolored water in the northeastern part of the city. Dozens of homes have tested positive for high levels of lead.

Early test results of nearly 300 homes found 41 had fixtures that tested positive for levels of lead above the level considered safe set by the EPA. 

Another 71 homes also had levels of lead, but they were below the EPA threshold. 

Public Utilities Director Tommy Esqueda says expanded testing is giving the city a clearer picture of how many homes in Northeast Fresno are experiencing discolored or lead contaminated water.

“So I am trying to look at the positive side saying ‘90-plus% are performing well’. I have got somewhere between 5-and-10% that are having a reaction with the water,” Esqueda says.

Esqueda says just four kitchen sinks tested positive for elevated lead.

Kitchen faucets are important because that is where people commonly get their drinking water.

Esqueda says he is still confident the city can correct the problems but also says the testing and chemicals needed to treat the water could end up costing one million dollars or more.

Jeffrey Hess is a reporter and Morning Edition news host for Valley Public Radio. Jeffrey was born and raised in a small town in rural southeast Ohio. After graduating from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio with a communications degree, Jeffrey embarked on a radio career. After brief stops at stations in Ohio and Texas, and not so brief stops in Florida and Mississippi, Jeffrey and his new wife Shivon are happy to be part Valley Public Radio.