Drinking Water Regulations for Monitoring of Lead in Schools and Child Care Centers
water systems, although schools that have their own water supply are subject to regulation and sampling as noncommunity
public water systems. Schools served by a public water system may be included as a sampling site (i.e., tap)
for a public water system's lead and copper monitoring program if there are insufficient single-family homes that
qualify. There are no federal requirements for more extensive testing.
The 1986 Amendments to the Safe Drin king Water Act (SDWA) required EPA to develop regulations to control for lead in
drinking water. The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), issued in 1991, is focused on controlling corrosion with in the
distribution system that delivers water to customers. The 1986 SDWA Amendments also required that only lead-free
materials be used in new plumbing and in plumbing repairs.
In 1988, the SDWA was further amended by the Lead Contamination Control Act (LCCA), to reduce the exposure of lead
to children In schools and child care facilities. The LCCA prohibited the sale of any drinking water cooler that is not lea dfree
and required t hat:
o the EPA identify each brand and model of drinking water cooler, indicating which are lead free and which have a leadlined
tank and distribute the list to states (SDWA Sec. 1463),
o the Consumer Product Safety Commission order that manufacturers and importers of all drinking water coolers
identified as having a lead-lined tank repair, replace, or recall and provide a refund for such coolers (SDWA Sec. 1462),
o the EPA publish a guidance document and t esting protocol to assist states in determining the source and degree of
lead contamination in school drinking water (SDWA Sec. 1464), and
o states establish programs to assist schools and child care facilities to test for and remedy lead contamination
problems, with public availa bility of results of such testing (SDWA Sec. 1464(d)).
As a result of a 1996 court decision, States are not required to establish testing programs. In its decision, the Fifth Circuit
held that provisions in section 1464(d) were unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
because they directly compelled the state to enact and enforce a federal regulatory program and provided no options
for the State to decline the program. The decision did not, however, restrict states from developing and carrying out
their own programs to assist schools.
In 1989 and subsequent years, EPA released guidance and information to inform states and school systems how to test
for and reduce the risk of lead exposure In school drinkin~ water. EPA's guidance provides a protocol for testing water
in schools and recommends that schools take action at fixtures where t he lead concentration exceeds 20 ppb. This
concentration differs from the 15 ppb action level that public water systems are required to follow. The 20 ppb action
level is based on a smaller sample collection volume of 250 mill/liters (ml) and is designed to pinpoint specific
fountains and outlets that require attention.
In 1990, Michigan did provide schools and licensed child care centers with information to assist in testing and remedying
potential lead contamination of their drinking water as requ ired by the Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988. This
information included a sampling protocol and guidance on flushing their system to minimize lead exposure.
In 2004, EPA surveyed states to determine what additional programs may exist to control exposure to lead in drinking
water at schools and ch ild care ce nters. Forty-nine states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the Navajo Nation
responded. Only 16 respondents Indicated they have or will conduct special sampling or studies to target lead exposure
at schools and child care centers. Michigan has not included any additional sampling programs or studies. However,
some local agencies have conducted voluntary programs. For example, the W.l(. Kellogg Foundation funded a program
implemented by t he Calhoun County Hea lth Department that sampled schools in Battle Creek. In Michigan's response
to this EPA survey, we included a recommendation for EPA to al low schools to be considered as a primary LCR
monitoring site so that more information about lead levels in schools would become available. However, no changes in
sampling criteria have occu rred to date.
In 2005, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the EPA, the Department of Education, the Centers for
Disease Control and Preve ntion (CDC), the American Water Works Association, the Association of Metropolitan Water
Agencies, the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, the Nation al Association of Water Companies and the
National Rural Water Association to facilitate actions that reduce children's exposure to lead from drinking water at
schools and child care fa cilities.
Across the country and in Michigan, most schools and child care facilities receive water from other community water
systems. However, those schools that have their own source of drinking water are considered non-transient noncommunity
water systems and are s ubject to the LCR. In Michigan, t here are 755 such schools and child care centers
that must monitor fo r lead to demonstrate compliance.