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Lead in Public School Drinking Water - Federal and State Support is Available NOW!

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Free Testing for Lead in Drinking Water at Public Schools - Act Now!

The Idaho Bureau of Laboratories is currently providing free testing of lead in drinking water sources from Idaho’s public schools. This free analysis is available until May 29, 2020. Private schools and daycares are not eligible for this program. The Idaho Bureau of Laboratories has information related to school lead testing, including a sample container request form and testing request form available HERE; under the School Lead Testing tab.  Questions regarding free testing can be directed to Earnest Bader at (208) 334-0590 or at


Background - Lead is Harmful to Humans, Especially Children

Lead is not typically a contaminant coming from water in a well, spring, or surface water source. Lead can enter drinking water from a building’s plumbing system. It may be present in various parts of the plumbing system including lead solder, brass fixtures, water fountains, and lead or galvanized pipes. When water is left in the pipes and in contact with lead plumbing materials, lead may leach into the water. The amount of lead in drinking water depends on how corrosive the water is, the materials used to construct the plumbing fixtures, and how long the water has been in contact with lead in the pipes or fixtures. The longer water stands in the plumbing system, the more lead the water can absorb from lead based plumbing fixtures and components. Lead can be present in school drinking water where water often remains stagnant in plumbing—overnight, over a weekend, or during a vacation. Buildings and plumbing fixtures built prior to 1986 are primary sources of lead in drinking water, though even new plumbing fixtures may leach lead into the drinking water.


The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has multiple resources related to lead in school drinking water. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency has a toolkit related to the reduction of lead in drinking water. Questions regarding lead in drinking water can be directed to Tyler Fortunati at (208) 373-0140 or at


AIC Members Must Play a Key Role: Funding for Mitigation of Lead in Public School Drinking Water

DEQ’s State Revolving Fund has $500,000 of drinking water grant funds set aside annually for public water systems to replace piping and fixtures that are contributing to lead contamination.  The funding MUST be coordinated through the public water system serving the school.


Additionally, DEQ’s wastewater State Revolving Fund program can potentially fund upgrades to old, lead fixtures and piping, when the public water system serving the school is unable to support a drinking water funded effort.  Contact Tim Wendland at (208) 373-0439 or at with your questions.

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