Schools: Water Quality

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3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools

A figure showing the cover of : Drinking Water Best Management Practices For Schools and Child Care Facilities With Their Own Drinking Water SourceEPA's revised guidance and toolkit provides simple strategies to manage the health risks of lead in school drinking water.

Why It's Important

  • Thousands of public schools and licensed child care facilities are not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and therefore may or may not be conducting voluntary drinking water quality testing.
  • Most lead gets into water after it leaves the local well or treatment plant and comes into contact with plumbing materials containing lead.
  • Low levels of lead in blood have been associated with behavioral problems, learning disabilities and impaired growth. Very high blood lead levels can cause severe neurological problems such as coma, convulsions and even death.

What You Can Do

  • Even with proper maintenance that meets EPA standards, lead may still get into water. Testing is the best way to know if there are elevated lead levels in a school's drinking water.
  • Ensure proper maintenance and a system in place to reduce the risk of corrosion in the school's plumbing system.
  • Visit the EPA Water website for more information and links to water quality resources.
  • The Reduce Chemical and Environmental Contaminant Hazards component of EPA's model school environmental health program offers strategies to improve water quality.

EPA and Federal Partners

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National Organizations

  • Source Water Collaborative  is a Web forum that gathers information and best practices to protect America's sources of drinking water. The website offers a free online tool to create a customized guide to encourage local action, enables individuals to connect with potential state or regional collaborators, and links to 23 national partner organizations, including EPA.

Regional, State and Local Resources