Why Test for Lead in Drinking Water
Unless you test for it, there’s no way of knowing if lead is in drinking water.
Children can come in contact with lead in many ways. Lead exposure poses a special risk to young children because they absorb lead into their systems more easily than adults do. Lead can slow down growth, impair development and learning, and can cause behavior problems.
While a major source of lead exposure in Vermont children is paint, lead in older plumbing and fixtures can add to a child’s overall lead exposure. Plus, water that sits in lead plumbing and fixtures when it's not being used likely contains higher levels of lead. This is why it's important to make sure lead levels in drinking water are as low as possible.
Vermont's Lead in Drinking Water Testing Law
To address these risks, Act 66 (2019) requires all Vermont school districts, supervisory unions, independent schools and child care providers to test their drinking and cooking water for lead. If lead is found at or above the action level of 4 parts per billion (ppb), the school or child care provider must immediately take the fixture out of service and take steps to eliminate or reduce the amount of lead to below 4 ppb.
Information for Schools
The first round of testing for lead in drinking water at schools and child care facilities was completed on December 31, 2021. Schools that are in the process of remediation and follow-up testing should continue to work with the Health Department. Schools can also still request reimbursement for the cost of remediating taps initially tested by December 31, 2021. The State will also continue to cover all follow-up testing costs left over from the first round of testing.
Ongoing testing is required. Taps at schools and child care facilities will need to be tested again in three years according to the schedule in the rule. More information on ongoing testing will be posted later.
Below you will find step-by-step instructions and all the materials you will need to help you through this process. If you have any questions about this process, call the Lead in School and Child Care Drinking Water Program at 802-863-7220 or 800-439-8550 (toll-free in Vermont).