Lead in Drinking Water – Water Utilities
Helping Schools Reduce the Risk of Children Being Exposed to Elevated Lead Levels
The deadline for schools to request free lead in water test kits has been extended for the foreseeable future. All samples must be returned to the State's Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL) for analysis. Please see the letter to districts linked below under Online Resources for details on the offer.
The Maine Rural Water Association, Maine Water Utilities Association, and the Maine Public Drinking Water Commission have joined in an initiative to encourage all schools in Maine to voluntarily test their drinking water for the presence of lead. The Maine Drinking Water Program, which oversees all public water systems in the state, is assisting with technical and financial support for this effort.
The federal Lead and Copper Rule does not require water utilities to test for lead in schools. This means that, while the water going to the schools is tested and safe, the water quality inside the schools is largely unknown. Over the past year, some schools, water utilities, and towns have voluntarily collected and tested water samples from selected schools, but the majority of schools have not yet been tested for lead.
To close this gap, all water utilities in Maine are encouraged to work with the schools they serve in testing for lead. Participation is entirely voluntary.
The Maine Drinking Water Program, which oversees all public water systems in the state, will cover the cost of lead analysis for up to 10 water samples from a school. The sampling kits will include prepaid postage labels for shipping the kits to the laboratory for analysis. None of the testing costs for the first ten samples will be passed onto schools. However, schools will need to pay for any additional testing required. In some cases, additional sampling will be needed and schools should be prepared for this.
Water utilities and schools can take advantage of this offer by contacting the State’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory at (207) 287-1716. Limit 10 sample kits per school; additional kits can be ordered at a cost of $20 per sample kit.
It is important that samples are carefully collected according to the protocols described in the guidance to ensure high quality test results. Sampling collection and post-sampling guidance for utilities and schools are available at the Online Resources below.
Unless specifically requested, sample results will only be sent to schools. These samples will not be counted as compliance samples for the federal Lead and Copper Rule.
If any elevated lead levels are found, the schools are responsible for fixing those problems. Water utilities are not responsible for planning or conducting any additional sampling in the schools or any remedial work needed, such as replacing faucets or fountains. Schools should expect and plan for conducting additional sampling and remedial actions.
A list of water utilities and their corresponding schools, including school contact information, is provided below. This list reflects our current record of schools served by public water utilities. Despite our best efforts to provide completely accurate data, some information may not be current. Please contact the DWP with any updated information, or general questions about this list.
Also included below is a draft letter that may be used to contact schools to offer assistance.
Maine Rural Water Association, Maine Water Utilities Assocation, Maine Drinking Water Commission
Maine CDC Drinking Water Program
- Recommended Protocol for Testing your School for Lead in Drinking Water (PDF)
- Post-Sampling Guidance (PDF)
- Sample Letter to Schools from Utilities (MS Word)
- List of Schools, Districts, and Corresponding Water Utilities (xlsx)
- Listing of Schools Served by Public Water Utilities (by Town) (PDF)
- Listing of Schools Served by Public water Utilities (by Utility) (PDF)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: