School Water Testing Pilot Program
The Louisiana Department of Health has launched a pilot program for testing drinking water on an annual basis at some elementary schools, in accordance with Act 632 of the 2018 Regular Session the State Legislature. The Department has chosen public schools with buildings that were constructed prior to 1986 or may otherwise be susceptible to drinking water contamination.
Why is the Department testing water in public schools?Frequently Asked Questions
The Louisiana Department of Health, in accordance with Act 632 of the 2018 Legislature, has started a pilot program to sample and test drinking water in selected elementary schools in Louisiana. The purpose of the tests is to determine if the drinking water in older schools, those constructed prior to 1986, contain lead above the state recommended Action Level of 15 parts per billion.
Why were only 12 schools tested?
This is a pilot program in accordance with Act 632. The results of the testing will be shared with the public, school districts and the Louisiana Legislature. Based on those results, decisions about next steps will be made.
How were the schools selected?
Using the requirements of Act 632 as a guide, the Department worked with local school districts and school superintendents to identify the 12 schools. To best characterize the issue of lead in school water, LDH prioritized older and larger schools and those that have not had plumbing upgrades since 1986.
How was the testing conducted?
For each school, the Department took water samples at several locations; before it enters the school and from taps within the school. The varying locations help to determine if the lead came from the water system, the plumbing fixtures or from the plumbing piping inside of the school.
What are the sources for lead in drinking water?
Typically, the lead in plumbing pipes, solder and other plumbing fixtures, such as water coolers and faucets, is the source of lead in drinking water. The most common cause is corrosion, which is a chemical reaction between the water and the pipes and solder. Who is responsible for safe drinking water?
In Louisiana, the responsibility for providing safe drinking water rests with public water systems. In the case of schools, each school and the local school board are responsible for the building plumbing along with the health and safety of children and staff.
What is the role of the Louisiana Department of Health?
LDH has the responsibility for monitoring and regulating water systems. For this pilot program, LDH is managing the program and the schools have the responsibility to respond appropriately to the findings.