Nancy Bernard just returned from a well deserved vacation and has shared additional details with WFIS and links to the DOH website content to address school questions regarding lead testing of water.
Though Washington State is reported as having one of the lowest rates of lead service lines in the country, with an estimated 4 lead service lines per 1,000 people (see Governors Directive on Lead 16-06), it is still critical for schools to ensure student and staff safety.
Are schools required to determine how much lead may be present in their building’s drinking water? What is the best way to get accurate information?
- If you have not used your water for several hours, run the tap until the water is noticeably colder. This will help flush out any lead that may have accumulated in the stagnant water.
- Use only cold water for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula. Hot water may contain higher levels of lead.
- Clean the screens and aerators in faucets frequently to remove captured lead particles.
- Use only certified “lead free” piping and materials for plumbing when building or remodeling.
In WA State, schools do not have to test their water for lead, but they should consider doing so. The only valid testing follows the EPA’s 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools: Revised Technical Guidance (PDF) DOH has a simplified brochure: Testing for lead in school drinking water systems (DOH331-261 PDF) with step-by-step instructions on collecting samples in a school building.
Schools who decide to test for lead should use a laboratory accredited by the state to analyze lead in drinking water. The Department of Ecology Lab Accreditation Unit has developed a list of drinking water labs by county (PDF).