State Board Notice: Lead Testing in Schools

On January 17th, the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW) announced its new program which encourages California schools to work with their local water providers to sample for the presence of lead in their drinking water.

Lead in drinking water has received restored national attention since the Flint Water Crisis which came to light in 2016. Lead is toxic to humans and can cause physical and behavioral effects if consumed, which makes it particularly dangerous for children. Lead enters drinking water through the corrosion of service pipes that contain lead, especially when the water has high acidity or low mineral content. The DDW has noted that California is at a lower risk of lead contamination in drinking water compared to other states because of its more modern infrastructure, however, the DDW believes additional testing will help ensure that California is continuing to protect its most vulnerable populations.

Under this new program, if a K-12 school official requests lead testing its public water system is responsible for collecting water samples within three months of the request, having the samples analyzed by an ELAP-accredited laboratory, and reporting the results to the school within two business days of receiving the results, all free of charge. The water system is required to collect up to 5 samples at each school requesting assistance. The State said this program will stay in effect until November 1st, 2019. To view the sampling plan and protocols, visit the DDW’s Lead Sampling of Drinking Water in California Schools website.

Babcock Laboratories is both ELAP and NELAP accredited and has over 20 years of experience determining ultra-trace amounts of lead in drinking water using EPA method 200.8, which is the testing method required by the State Board for this program. In addition to lead, Babcock Laboratories offers a suite of heavy metal testing services for drinking water. If you are interested in our heavy metal testing services, including lead testing, please contact our Director of Client Services, Cathy Iijima.

As the DDW has noted, this new program will address potential safety issues and reassure our communities that our children and teachers are consuming clean and safe drinking water. We look forward to supporting public water systems as they continue to protect public health under this new program.