10 Basic Steps to School Water Testing

A printable version of the 10 steps below: 10 Basic Steps to School Water Testing (PDF)

1.  Communicate with Parents and Staff

Show your commitment to protecting children and staff.

2.  Do a Plumbing Assessment

Look for lead plumbing and determine the flow of water through the building.

3.  Identify Drinking Water Fixtures

Find and assign a unique code to each fixture in preparation for sampling.

4. Develop a Sampling Plan

Develop a Drinking Water Sampling Plan in order to collect proper samples. Before sampling, have a plan for communicating to parents and staff on:

  • What you are doing
  • When you will do it
  • How you will respond to sample results to protect everyone in the building
  • Who to contact for more information

5. Collect Samples

6. Review and Interpret Results

7. Communicate Results and Risk Reduction Actions

8. Take Corrective Action

9. Establish a Routine Water Moving Program

10. Follow Up

Re-sampling and future monitoring

 


Step 1: Communicate with Parents and Staff

The first step to an effective lead reduction program is to develop a communication plan. Communicating early and often about your testing plans, results and next steps will build confidence in your ability to provide a safe environment. When developing your plan:

  • Take the initiative to communicate with your community
  • Make sure your information is honest, accurate, and comprehensive
  • Speak with one consistent voice
  • Anticipate questions and concerns and address them proactively
  • Keep you audiences up-to-date as new information becomes available

For more detailed information on developing a communication plan, see Module 1 in EPA’s 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities.

EGLE Communication letter templates in Word for your use:

Step 2. Do a Plumbing Assessment

Look for lead plumbing and determine the flow of water through the building.

The second step to an effective lead reduction program is to conduct a plumbing assessment. Knowing what the school building plumbing material is made of and where the fixtures for drinking and food preparation are located makes it easier to determine if there is or may be a potential lead problem, helps with the development of a proper lead sampling plan, and gives valuable information on how to reduce the risk of lead in the drinking water. Plumbing assessments may be done by school personnel, licensed plumbers, or with the help of the community water supplier or local health department staff. 

A plumbing assessment involves gathering:

  • Basic building information
  • General water and plumbing information
  • Water sampling and maintenance program information

A plumbing assessment assists with:

  • Identifying lead in the water service line, pipes, valves and fixtures
  • Creating an investigative lead sampling plan for all drinking and food preparation taps
  • The development of a routine flushing program to eliminate contaminants and stagnant water in the water system

An inventory of the plumbing material, pipe and fixture locations, and flow of cold-water is done by walking through the building and recording the information on a floor plan a School Building Plumbing Profile, and on a Drinking Water Fixture Inventory spreadsheet and/or Individual Fixture Information worksheet.

EGLE plumbing assessment tools for your use:

Step 3. Identify Drinking Water Fixtures

Find and assign a unique code to each fixture in preparation for sampling.

The third step to an effective lead reduction program is to develop a code system to easily identify individual fixtures to be sampled. This system uses a unique code that will allow each fixture to be identified by location, type and other relevant characteristics.

Once the fixtures have been assigned a unique code, the code should be identified on a site map, accompanied by a narrative that describes the observable conditions of each sampling location, and put on or near the fixture to help in the bottle/paperwork verification process during a sampling event.

The code will be used on sample bottles, laboratory analysis request forms and on other paperwork such as sample test result tables, flushing/aerator cleaning logs, and corrective action forms.

EGLE fixture identification tools for your use: