The state water board is now requiring public water systems to offer free lead testing to schools. Even if a water supply is clean at the source, lead can still appear in buildings like schools.
Public water systems are already required to test their water where they distribute it, but that’s not the only place to test for lead. Asha Kreiling with the advocacy group the Community Water Center says lead can be introduced by pipes and schools may not always test what comes out of them.
"That’s why this permit amendment is focusing on lead," says Kreiling, "because the information we don’t have is the water quality after it’s passed through the distribution system and may have been contaminated by the pipes."
Kreiling says these test results will help determination how big a problem lead contamination is.
"When we understand which schools are at risk, we can better understand the problem and identify solutions and figure out how much funding we need statewide to address this problem," she says.
Under the permit amendment, each school can request up to five lead tests for free.