Many Vermont schools and childcare facilities are in older buildings, which means they are more likely to have lead in their plumbing. Because there is no safe level of lead in the body, and young children absorb lead into their systems more easily than adults do, it's important to ensure lead levels in drinking water are as low as possible. Fixing a lead in drinking water problem is often easy and low cost. Solutions can include replacing plumbing fixtures, removing redundant or seldom-used fixtures, and encouraging the use of centrally located, well-maintained bottle fill stations.
Building on the pilot project, Act 66, passed in 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 in an amount 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 corrective action to eliminate or reduce the amount of lead to below the action level. The Health Department has been charged with helping schools and child care providers with the testing process, providing water test materials, guidance and support. The project runs through December 2021.