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.
For a detailed description of the requirements, please see MDE’s Testing Requirements and Related Documents.
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.
All occupied public and nonpublic schools serving children in pre-kindergarten to grade 12 that receive drinking water from a public utility.
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.
The law does not apply to facilities that are solely licensed by the Maryland Office of Child Care, such as daycare centers.
All public and nonpublic schools, grades pre-K through 12, must test for the presence of lead in all drinking water outlets.
Testing is to be conducted once every three years and must be performed during the regular school year while school is in session.
Testing will be phased in based on age of construction of the school building and age of the students:
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 interior 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
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.
Maryland’s regulations require schools to test for the presence of lead in all drinking water outlets on a State-established three-year cycle, unless a waiver from future testing has been granted. Since testing is required to be conducted when schools are in regular session, closures and capacity reductions resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted such testing previously planned during the 2020-2021 school year. Click on the links below to find additional information regarding the testing requirements and procedures, and advice about best flushing practices to enhance water quality in school buildings during the 2020-2021 school year:
Schools that plan to test during the 2020-2021 school year should conduct the complete round of standard testing with all samples collected before the end of the testing period (i.e., July 1, 2021) or by the end of the 2020-2021 school year, whichever occurs sooner. The schools have 14 days (from the date of sample collection) to submit samples to a MD-certified laboratory, where the samples must be analyzed within 6 months of preservation. The school shall then report all test results to MDE, MSDE, Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and the appropriate local health department within 30 days of samples being analyzed by the laboratory. This may be accomplished by submitting required reporting documents to email@example.com.
Guidance on Testing for Lead in Drinking Water and Recommendation on Flushing Outlets in Schools during the 2020-2021 Academic School Year
Flowchart on Testing for Lead in Drinking Water and Recommendation on Flushing Outlets in Schools during the 2020-2021 Academic School Year
School Building Flushing - Links to Guidance
As of October 12, 2021, MDE has received and verified a total of 63,569 first-draw lead sample results from 24 public school systems, 214 nonpublic schools, and 9 charter schools.
Of the 63,569 first-draw lead samples, 3,045 (4.79%) samples exceeded 20 ppb (i.e., previous Action Level effective through May 31, 2021): 1,183 (1.86%) were from drinking water outlets (i.e., consumption outlets), 1,861 (2.93%) were from non-consumption outlets, and 1 (0.002%) was from outlets with unknown use (i.e., a use determination could not yet be made).
Of the 63,569 first-draw lead samples, 9,900 (15.57%) samples exceeded 5 ppb (i.e., current Action Level effective June 1, 2021): 5,356 (8.43%) were from drinking water outlets (i.e., consumption outlets), 4,542 (7.14%) were from non-consumption outlets, and 2 (0.003%) were from outlets with unknown use (i.e., a use determination could not yet be made).
The following tables present the above information in greater detail and will be updated as more data become available.
Summary of First-Draw Sample Results for Public Schools
Summary of First-Draw Sample Results for Nonpublic Schools
Summary of Frist-Draw Sample Results for Charter Schools
MDE has received 706 applications for a twelve-month deferral from initial testing, and, in consultation with MSDE, has granted approval to 702 applications. The remaining 4 applications did not meet the requirements for approval. MDE has received 122 applications for three-year deferrals in initial testing; 106 of these did not meet the requirements for approval, and the remaining 16 are pending due to review of supplementary information. MDE has received 151 applications for waivers from testing; 116 did not meet the strict requirements for approval, and the remaining 35 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
Period ending July 1, 2019
Period ending July 1, 2018
Reporting Test Results
Sample Collection Form
Additional copies of Page 2
Lead Sample Summary Certification Form
Laboratory Results Reporting Form (EDD) - ALL test results (non-elevated AND elevated) must be included and reported on the EDD
Important Notice: Elevated Lead Sample Result(s) Template
Certification for Elevated Lead Sample Result (s) Notice
Remedial Plan of Action Form
Completion of Remediation Form
Waiver Application Type 1 - Prior Testing
Waiver Application Type 2 - Bottled Water
Waiver Application Type 3 - Lead-Free Building
Testing Requirements and Related Documents.
Flowchart of Testing Requirements
Timelines for Initial Testing and Deferred Testing
State-certified Laboratory List
Lead Sample Collection Instructions
MDE Training Presentation
Example Signage for Outlets
3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools
School Building Flushing - Links to Guidance
House Bill 270 (May 2017)
House Bill 1253 (May 2019)
House Bill 636 (May 2021)
Public Comments and Responses
Public School Construction (PSC) #s. (NOTE: To find the PSC # of your school, hover over "Facilities & Maintenance" from the menu bar and select "Facility Inventory". Then select "Public Record Access" and use the search tool to find your school.
Nonpublic School IDs. Click on the county in which your school is located. Schools are listed alphabetically with the corresponding ID number.
Church Exempt School IDs
List of Approved Montessori Schools
Health Effects of Lead
Fact Sheet: Lead in Drinking Water Coolers - Models of water coolers with lead-lined tanks and/or other lead components (2 pages)
List of County Health Department Contacts
Questions? Call 410-537-3729 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230