Lead in School Drinking Water: How Drinking Water With Lead May Affect A Child’s Health

Your school is on a municipal water supply, so you don’t have to worry about lead contamination, right? WRONG. In fact, the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) recommends that all schools on municipal water take samples from every drinking water site (including individual taps, water bubblers, and coolers). In this month’s blog, we’ll discuss the health risks of lead-contaminated water and explain the reasoning behind the NHDES school drinking water testing recommendations.

Health Risks of Lead-Contaminated Water

According to the NHDES, there is no known safe level of lead exposure for children. Children who are exposed to lead could experience many long-term physical and mental growth and development issues, including:

  • Brain damage
  • Kidney and hearing problems
  • Slowed body growth
  • Seizures
  • Lower IQ level
  • Learning delays
  • Reduced attention span
  • Behavior problems

Children ages six and under are at particular risk of lead exposure because they absorb lead more easily than adults. While the effects of lead exposure can be managed, they cannot be remedied.

How Lead Gets into Drinking Water

Lead rarely occurs naturally in water. Instead, lead from brass or copper plumbing (including faucets, water bubblers, and coolers) leaches into water as it moves through the system. Although the public drinking water supplied to most schools may meet federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, lead can still get into your school drinking water.

If your school has its own public water system, the state requires a series of lead and copper samples. But again, if you’re not testing every drinking water point of use, you could have lead somewhere in your drinking water.

For further information on detecting and reducing lead in school drinking water, read the EPA document, 3 T’s for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools.

Testing for Lead in School Drinking Water in NH

Because testing is the only way to know if there are elevated levels of lead in your school’s drinking water, the NHDES recommends that individual point of use locations be regularly sampled. The water treatment experts at Secondwind Water Systems can help you test your school’s drinking water and if needed, design a water treatment system.

Contact Secondwind for a Free Site Evaluation

Secondwind Water Systems is the trusted water treatment specialist for homes, businesses, municipalities, and schools throughout New Hampshire. For a free site evaluation, contact us today.