Sep 21, 2021

Maine Schools to Begin Testing Drinking Water for Lead

The Maine Drinking Water Program will help coordinate and pay for schools to test all drinking and cooking water fixtures.

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According to the Maine Division of Environmental and Community Health, the Maine Legislature has mandated that all schools in Maine test their drinking water for the presence of lead. 

This decision comes after the passage of LD 153, An Act To Strengthen Testing for Lead in School Drinking Water. This bill requires all schools to test water used for drinking or culinary purposes for lead using water testing kits or by submitting samples of water to an approved laboratory for lead testing. 

The Drinking Water Program will begin coordinating the effort that will begin Oct. 1, 2021 and continue until May 31, 2022. The goals are to inventory, sample, public notice, and remediate. 

Schools that may have already partially or fully tested their taps for lead are not exempt from testing as part of the requirements set forth in LD 153. Critical to note is that each school is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the samples are correctly taken and documented, and The Drinking Water Program recommends that local water districts assist the schools they serve in sample collection.

Additionally, according to the Maine Division of Environmental and Community Health, each school is responsible to fund their own remediation efforts, as LD 153 does not provide remediation funding. Sample bottles must be ordered from A&L Laboratories, located in Auburn, Maine.

When remediating tap water, The Drinking Water Program will pay for any additional sample bottles needed during the remediation process. When the results of the water testing are in, schools are required to disclose the lead results and remediation efforts to all stakeholders, including students, parents, and staff at the school. Proof must be submitted to the A&L Laboratories that stakeholders were notified. 

Access to training and information on how to get started on testing your water can be found here.

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