New funding, rules for upcoming lead testing in Alabama schools and daycares


The Alabama Department of Environmental Management is continuing a program to test lead levels in public schools and daycares.

Over the next few months, state officials will visit Alabama schools to talk about lead testing and show school officials how to collect a lead sample. From 2024, some schools and daycares will be required to test lead levels and meet a certain level of safety.

The effort continues a 2017-2019 project that tested the drinking water of 1,200 schools and saw great community interest in water safety. A federal grant has been put in place to fund future testing, which will become mandatory in schools and daycares under a new rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates only water levels contain no more than 10 parts per billion of lead. There is a compliance date of October 16, 2024.

Learn more about Alabama Education Lab coverage here.

“To ensure that sampling is done properly, schools or entities working with them are given instructions and training to collect water samples,” said Lynn Battle of the Main Office of External Affairs of the Office of External Affairs. ADEM.

ADEM analyzes water samples and posts the results in ADEM’s eFile system, which Alabama residents can view using this link.

According to ADEM, the best times to take the tests are during the hottest months: at the start of the school year (between August and September) and at the end of the school year (between April and May).

The process of testing a school’s lead levels, however, is not mandatory.

“Participation in ADEM’s lead testing program is voluntary,” said Lynn Battle of the Chief External Affairs Office. “Schools are encouraged to take advantage of the tests available.”

A dozen states routinely test drinking water in schools and daycares, according to recent reports from the Government Accountability Office – but some facilities that serve children were unsure if they had ever tested the water for lead levels.

“The vast majority of samples tested did not exceed the established primary action level for schools,” said Battle, of the Alabama schools that conducted the tests. “Schools that performed above the action level retested to verify the accuracy of the tests. In many cases, follow-up samples verified acceptable limits. After the second round of sampling, schools removed all devices that needed to be replaced. »

Facilities are encouraged to follow the instructions of the Youtube video as good as fact sheet on the website to obtain water samples.

For reports from previous years and other programs offered by ADEM to ensure environmental safety, go to or call the Drinking Water Branch at (334) 271-7773.


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