Testing for Lead in Drinking Water - Public and Nonpublic Schools

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Maryland law (Chapter 386, 2017) requires all occupied public and nonpublic schools, serving children in prekindergarten to grade 12, that receive drinking water from a public utility to test for the presence of lead in all drinking water outlets.

The first round of sampling required all school buildings serving students in prekindergarten through grade 5 and school buildings built before 1988 complete lead testing by July 1, 2018.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the effective date?

 

House Bill 270 was signed into law on May 4, 2017.

The regulations (COMAR 26.16.07 Lead in Drinking Water - Public and Nonpublic Schools) became effective on April 9, 2018.​

Which schools are covered by the law?

 

​All occupied public and nonpublic schools serving children in pre-kindergarten to grade 12 that receive drinking water from a public utility.​

Which schools are not covered by the law?

 

​Schools that have their own individual well(s) and are already required to test for lead under the federal Lead and Copper Rule are not covered.​

Is the law applicable for daycare facilities?

 

​The law does not apply to facilities that are solely licensed by the Maryland Office of Child Care, such as daycare centers.​

What is required?

 

​All public and nonpublic schools, grades pre-K through 12, must test for the presence of lead in all drinking water outlets.​

When must schools test?

 

​Testing is to be conducted once every three years and must be performed during the regular school year while school is in session.​

When must initial testing occur?

 

​Testing will be phased in based on age of construction of the school building and age of the students:​


  Youngest Students in Grades Pre-Kindergaten-5 Youngest Students in Grades 6-8 Youngest Students in Grades 9-12
Building constructed before 1988 July 1, 2018 July 1, 2018 July 1, 2018
Building constructed in 1988 or later July 1, 2018 July 1, 2019 July 1, 2020
Building constructed after the effective date of the regulations Within 12 months of date of occupancy
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Are there options to defer the initial sampling?

 

Yes. To apply for a deferral from initial sampling, a school must complete the application form developed by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

A school can request a deferral of no more than three years if all of the following criteria are met:

  • Previous testing was conducted using sampling protocols that are consistent with those outlined in COMAR 26.16.07.07

  • Sample analysis was performed by a state-certified laboratory

  • All sample results were less than 20 ppb

A school can request a deferral of no more than 12 months if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The school has a plan in place to test all drinking water outlets

  • The plan includes actionable steps to be taken if elevated levels of lead are found in any of the drinking water outlets​

Can a school waive out of sampling altogether?

 

Yes. A waiver indefinitely exempts a school from testing for lead in all drinking water outlets until the school no longer meets the conditions of the waiver. There are three types of waivers for which a school can apply:

  • Type 1 - Prior Testing

    • No earlier than five years before the effective date of the regulations (April 9, 2018), the school has tested all drinking water outlets for the presence of lead in a manner that complies with the regulation;

    • A state-certified laboratory analyzed each of the test results; and

    • All test results are at a level of 5 ppb or lower.

  • Type 2 - Bottled Water

    • Only bottled water is used for drinking water and in food preparation, including ice making, in the building; and

    • Occupants do not have access to water from any drinking water outlet.

  • Type 3 - Lead-Free Building

    • The service line and plumbing connecting the school to the water main are lead-free as defined by Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act; and

    • All interor plumbing in the school is lead-free as defined by Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act; and

    • All drinking water outlets are lead-free as defined by the Annotated Code of Maryland, Business Occupations and Provisions Article, §§12-101, 12-605.1, and 12-605.2​

Who can collect samples?

 

​Lead samples may be collected by school personnel, laboratories, or other parties. The person who collects the samples does not need to be a state-certified water sampler. However, the samples must be analyzed by a laboratory certified by the State of Maryland to perform Metals 1 (lead and copper) analysis.​

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Status of HB 270 Implementation

Summary of Results

As of August 5, 2019, MDE has received a total of 42,848 first-draw lead sample results from 14 public school systems, 170 nonpublic schools, and five charter schools. Of this number, 1,653 samples (3.9%) exceeded the Action Level (AL) of 20 parts per billion (ppb) of lead. Of the samples that exceeded the Action Level, 679 (41.1%) were from drinking water outlets and 950 (57.5%) were from non-consumption outlets. There were 24 samples (1.5%) that exceeded the Action Level for which a use determination could not be made.The following tables present the above information in greater detail and will be updated as more data becomes available.

Summary of First-Draw Sample Results for Public, Nonpublic, and Charter Schools

 

Summary of Waivers and Deferrals

MDE has received 722 applications for a twelve-month deferral from initial testing, and, in consultation with MSDE, has granted approval to 705 applications. Of the remaining 16 applications, 4 did not meet the requirements for approval and 13 are under review. MDE has received 115 applications for three-year deferrals in initial testing; 88 of these did not meet the requirements for approval, and the remaining 27 are under review.  MDE has received 133 applications for waivers from testing; 114 did not meet the strict requirements for approval, and the remaining 19 are under review at this time. The following tables present the above information in greater detail and will be updated as more data become available.

Summary of Deferrals

Summary of Waivers

 

Reporting

mde-results@120wateraudit.com

(This ensures that all test results will be reported to all applicable State and local agencies)

  • All other reporting forms (see "Important Forms" below) must be uploaded to the 120WaterAudit platform by logging in to your school’s account at:

https://schools.120wateraudit.com/login

To access your school’s account, please submit a login request to MDE’s online portal at:

https://tinyurl.com/y762arv8

Once your request is reviewed, a login credential will be emailed to you.

  • All waiver and deferral application forms must be sent to MDE and MSDE:

reporting.leadschoolwater@maryland.gov

 

When emailing or uploading reporting forms, applications, or other documents, please name the forms using the following format:


Name of form_name of school

 If you have problems with the 120WaterAudit platform, please contact Jennifer Whitson at 120WaterAudit.  Her email is jennifer@120wateraudit.com and the support line is (800) 674-7961 

 

Important Forms

 

Guidance Materials

 

Law and Regulations

 

School IDs

 

Other Information

 

Contact Information

Questions? Call 410-537-3729 or email reporting.leadschoolwater@maryland.gov

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