New State Law Requires Lead Testing For Schools' Drinking Water

New State Law Requires Lead Testing For Schools’ Drinking Water

The Kane County Health Department will be working closely with the Kane County Regional Office of Education in working to ensure the drinking water sources at our schools are safe.

A new law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Jan. 16, 2017, established lead testing requirements and protocols for all water sources used for cooking and drinking within some schools and day care facilitates as well as requirements for water providers to compile a lead materials inventory and provide notification during water distribution work.

Schools are required to test all sources used for cooking and drinking in all schools built before Jan. 1, 2000, where kindergarten through fifth-graders are present.

The new law amends a number of existing state laws to enable schools, water suppliers and municipalities to access various funds or impose fees for purposes of complying with the new testing requirements.

The biggest proposed change to the legislation would require schools to pay for their own lead testing, instead of water suppliers. The amendment would allow schools to use money already available in tort immunity and life-safety health funds.

The estimated cost of testing for each school ranges from $500 to $5,000. Much larger costs come in if lead is present and mitigation is required

By working together with the Kane County Regional Office of Education and local school districts, as well as the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Environmental Protections Agency, the partnership is dedicated to ensuring the drinking water in our schools is safe for our children to consume.

TESTING FOR LEAD IN SCHOOLS

Senate Bill 0550

Public Act 00-0922 (Senate Bill 0550), signed into law by Rauner on Jan. 16, 2017, established lead testing requirements and protocols for all water sources used for cooking and drinking within some schools and day care facilitates as well as requirements for water providers to compile a lead materials inventory and provide notification during water distribution work.

A brief summary of the bill is included below:

Water Providers Responsibilities

TESTING FOR LEAD IN DAY CARE FACILITIES

FAQs FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

When does the testing have to be completed by?

  • Buildings built before Jan. 1, 1987, must be tested by Dec. 31, 2017
  • Buildings built in between Jan. 2, 1987, and Dec. 31, 2000, must be tested by Dec.  31, 2018.
  • Buildings built after 2000 are not required to test under SB 550.

What type of buildings must be tested?

  • School buildings that service pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

How many tests must I do?

  • You must take two 250 ml samples from each source. The first draw must be taken after the water has sat for eight hours, but not longer than 18 hours. The second draw should be taken 30 seconds after the first draw.

Do I need to test bathroom sinks?

  • No. The only sources of water that need to be tested are drinking fountains, kitchen sinks used for food preparation and sinks in classrooms used for under grade 1.

I am not really sure how to go about testing. What should I do?

  • Contact your local water supplier and request their help. In SB 550, local water departments were given the ability to charge a fee to address cost associated with lead testing. While the school is responsible for the cost of the test, your local water supplier might be of financial and technical assistance.

Where do I send the samples when I get them?

  • You must have the water samples analyzed at an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Lab. A list of those labs can be found HERE.

How do I inform the public that we have done our testing?

  • If all your water sources test below 5 parts per billion, you may inform the public that you have done testing by posting on your website.
  • If you have any source that test above 5 parts per billion, you must notify parents/guardians of the test result and the location of the water source in your school via an individual notification to parents/guardians through written or electronic communication.

What If my school has already tested?

  • If you have already tested your water sources for lead, you must submit the results of those tests to the Department of Public Health within 120 days of the effective date of SB 550. The test must have been completed between Jan. 1, 2013 and the effective date of SB 550 (Jan. 16, 2017). A minimum of one 250ml sample must have been taken from each location and the samples must have been analyzed by and Illinois EPA accredited lab.

Do I have to test right away?

  • SB 550 has an immediate effective date, but the first group of schools aren’t required to complete testing until Dec.  31, 2017.

SOURCE: Kane County Health Department news release