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2017 Lead Sampling Pilot Project: Lead-Free Learning Initiative

testing for lead in the water at a drinking fountain

In January 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a letter to state superintendents across the country recommending that schools test their drinking water for lead. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Utah Department of Health (DOH) partnered with Utah schools to conduct voluntary sampling for lead in their drinking water. While sampling for lead is not required for schools serviced by a public water system, DEQ and DOH urged schools to sample the drinking water in each building to ensure the health and safety of schoolchildren and staff.

DEQ and DOH reached out to several school districts and asked them to participate in a voluntary pilot study to sample for lead in the drinking water at their schools. While most of the pilot-study test results fell below the EPA action level of 15 micrograms per liter (µg/L), some of the samples exceeded that level. Schools with elevated levels remediated the problem through fixture replacement, system flushing, and in-school water treatment followed by resampling to ensure that lead levels in the drinking water have fallen below the action level. Some schools chose to establish a regular sampling schedule depending on the control measures they put into place to remove lead from their drinking water.

DDW has compiled and summarized the results of ongoing sampling on its online drinking water database WaterLink. This sampling report provides the school name, school district, county, sample results (above or below the action level of 15µ/L), actions being taken, detailed comments on all actions taken to bring the lead content below the action level, and the date of the last update. The search bar at the top right allows users to easily locate their school.

Not all Utah schools have conducted lead sampling. The Division updates the database when sampling results from these schools become available. Those wishing a more detailed report of sampling results can contact DDW at DDWleadinwater@utah.gov and a member of the staff will respond to individual questions or concerns.