Lead in Drinking Water Testing Bill Parent Notification

Testing of drinking water sources at New Holland-Middletown Elementary School was performed on May 31, 2017. The testing is required by The Lead in Drinking Water Testing Bill (LDWTB) which was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner effective January 17, 2017. 

The LDWTB requires elementary school buildings constructed prior to January 1, 2000 serving 5th grade and below to test the following sources;

  • Drinking fountain and drinking sources in buildings
  • Classroom sinks in classroom under 1st grade (kindergarten and pre-kindergarten) 

Water testing followed protocol recommended by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the LDWTB.  All water sources have two samples collected. The first collection at each source is a “first draw” sample.  Water collection occurs in first draw samples after sources were unused for at least eight (8) hours.  The second sample at that source is collected after 30 seconds of flushing.  The two (2) samples are intended to help identify if any concentrations are originating from the fixture or the potable water piping leading to the fixture.

Lead most frequently gets into drinking water by leaching from plumbing materials and fixtures as water moves through a school’s distribution system. Even though the drinking water you receive from the water supplier may meet federal and state standards for lead, your facility may have elevated lead levels due to plumbing materials and water use patterns. Leaching can occur for several reasons but the most significant is corrosion which can occur if water is acidic. 

Lead in new plumbing and plumbing repairs was banned in 1986.  This ban did not entirely eliminate lead as 0.2% lead is still allowed in solder and 8% lead is allowed in piping systems. Pre-1986 plumbing systems have a higher potential to leach lead into drinking water.

Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful to human health.  Young children, those 6 years and younger, are at particular risk for lead exposure because they have frequent hand-to-mouth activity and absorb lead more easily than do adults. Children’s nervous systems are still undergoing development and thus are more susceptible to the effects of toxic agents. Lead is also harmful to the developing fetuses of pregnant women.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has developed the following guidance for reducing lead in the drinking water in schools;

“3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools: Revised Technical Guidance: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): October 2006 Version”

While there is no known safe level of lead in drinking water the guidance lists a recommended action level of 20.0 parts per billion (ppb) of lead.  Effectively when lead concentrations are at 20.0 ppb or greater some action should be taken to reduce the concentration in the affected outlets.

The LDWTB requires the District to provide notification to parents identifying each location with a detected concentration exceeding 5.0 ppb.  The concentrations of lead in samples at the following location(s) exceeded 5.0 ppb;

  • The first draw sample from the water fountain adjacent Classroom 119 - 8.40 ppb.
  • The second draw sample from the water fountain adjacent Classroom 119 - 8.41 ppb.
  • The first draw sample from the sink in the Nurse’s Office - 8.12 ppb.
  • The first draw sample from the sink in Classroom 101 - 7.66 ppb.

None of the samples listed above exceeded the EPA’s recommended action level of 20.0 pbb of lead in drinking water.

A complete copy of the water testing report is available on the district website, http://www.nhm88.com   If you should have any questions regarding the water testing that was performed you can contact me at (217) 445-2421 or via email at tdugan@nhm88.com  

For additional information about lead in drinking water you can visit the USEPA’s website;

https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water

As always, please feel free to call or email me with any questions.