New GAO Report: Lead Testing of School Drinking Water Would Benefit From Improved Federal Guidance


A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigates current school practices for lead testing and remediation in drinking water.

In the GAO’s stratified, random sample of 549 school districts in the U.S., 43% of districts surveyed indicated they had tested for lead in school drinking water. Of the school districts that tested, 37% found elevated lead levels. School districts undertook a variety of actions to remediate lead in school drinking water, including replacing fixtures, permanently removing fixtures from service, flushing and installing filters.

The report also details existing state-level efforts to require schools to test for lead in drinking water or provide school districts with funding or other support for testing and remediation. The GAO looked at existing guidance from the EPA and how familiar school districts around the country are with these guidelines.

The report detailed seven recommendations for the federal government, including providing updated EPA guidance on how to address lead in school drinking water and urging closer collaboration between the Department of Education and EPA to disseminate guidance and encourage testing for lead in school drinking water.

For more information on lead in school drinking water, see the National Drinking Water Alliance’s lead page and Let’s Tackle School Drinking Water Safety! webinar series.

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