Vermont launches initiative to help schools test drinking water for lead

News Release — Vermont Department of Health Media Contact: Vermont Department of Health 802-863-7281 BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health, in partnership with the Agencies of Education and Natural Resources, is launching a pilot project designed to encourage schools to test drinking water for lead at each tap used for drinking or cooking, and take actions to lower lead levels.
Over the next few months, Health Department and Department of Environmental Conservation staff will visit each school and work with its facility team to inventory and test taps used for drinking and cooking.
Water samples will be sent to the Health Department Laboratory for testing, at no cost to the school.
“Water is a critical resource,” said Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore.
“We are committed to making sure all Vermonters have access to clean and safe drinking water.” Moore explained that any tap that tests over the EPA action level for lead in public drinking water systems will be taken out of use, and state agencies will work with each school to identify fixes and re-test to make sure lead levels have been reduced.
This is an opportunity to help schools test their water, identify problems, and take often easy and low cost steps to reduce lead exposure,” said Deputy Health Commissioner Tracy Dolan.
EPA set the action level for lead in public drinking water at 15 parts per billion (ppb).
Because there is no safe level of lead, the Health Department encourages schools to reduce lead levels in drinking water as much as possible.
In 2016, more than 600 Vermont children under the age of 6 were found to have lead poisoning.
“Ensuring child safety is a shared responsibility.

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