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Massachusetts Releases Report on Lead in Schools Project

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) issued a report this week summarizing the results of the first-in- the-nation Lead in School Drinking Water Assistance Program in Massachusetts.  The report, which highlights work done in more than 150 communities, provides data of water sampling within approximately 800 school buildings throughout the state.  Since April 2016, $2.75 million has been made available by the state to fund the program.  The program was designed to get more schools to perform lead testing and make it easier for schools to implement effective testing programs and take water samples.
Key elements of the program include:

  • The coordination of informational meetings in all participating communities;
  • The providing of technical assistance materials to local school districts;
  • The creation of sampling plans to map out all fixtures to be tested within facilities;
  • The analysis of all water samples at state-certified labs; and,
  • The providing of assistance to local districts on follow-up actions to be taken and public communications plans.

Through the Lead in School Drinking Water Assistance Program, nearly 56,000 water samples were collected from approximately 32,000 water faucets, drinking fountains, and other fixtures within the public schools.  Of the total samples analyzed, about 7 percent exceeded the Action Level for lead only, 1 percent exceeded for both lead and copper, and 1 percent exceeded for copper only.  72 percent of buildings tested between May 2016 and February 2017 had one or more fixture that exceeded the federal and state lead or copper action level that needed to be addressed.