FAQs About Testing for Lead In School Drinking Water
Why is the Wicomico County Board of Education Sampling for Lead in our schools drinking water?
House Bill 270 requires the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) in consultation with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the Department of General Service (DGS) and Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH), to adopt regulations to require periodic testing for the presence of lead in each drinking water outlet (potable water fixture that is used for drinking or food preparation) located in an occupied public or nonpublic school building.
Has the Wicomico County Board of Education sampled for lead before?
Yes, as part of the Wicomico County Board of Education proactive approach to safety lead testing was conducted in 2017.
When will lead sampling be conducted?
Lead water sampling is conducted around 6:00 am in the morning before school starts, and all samples must be collected while school is in session. No sampling will occur over the summer months.
Is there a timeline for lead water samples to be tested?
Elementary schools and school built before 1988 must be test before July 1, 2018.
Grades 6-8 must be tested prior to July 1, 2019.
Grades 9-12 built after 1988 must be tested prior to July 1, 2020
Note- Under the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) procedures the Wicomico County Board of Education can apply for extensions to these timelines.
What happens if there are elevated lead levels in the drinking water at my child’s school, and how is fixed?
- WCBOE is required to close off access to the outlet within 24 hours after being notified by the laboratory.
- WCBOE will be required to collect follow-up samples within 5 days from all outlets with elevated lead readings.
- WCBOE will be required to ensure sufficient drinking water that meets the standards in the National Primary Drinking Water regulation is available to students and staff.
What remedial actions can be taken if elevated levels of lead are found in any drinking water outlet?
Each school found to have elevated levels of lead will include one or more of the following actions in its remedial plan.
- Permanently close access to the outlet or remove the outlet;
- Install and maintain a point of use filter at the outlet;
- Repair, reconfigure, or replace the outlet, plumbing or service line contributing to the elevated level of lead;
- Install and maintain automatic flushing of outlets after testing confirms that the lead level in the outlet after flushing is not elevated.
Who collects the samples, and how do I know the water sample results are accurate?
The Wicomico County Board of Education has hired an outside Environmental sampling contractor to collect all lead in drinking water samples. The sample analysis must be performed by a Maryland certified laboratory.
If I have additional questions regarding lead who should I contact?
For questions regarding the regulations, please contact Mr. David Fulton, Environmental and Safety Specialist for Wicomico County Public Schools, at 410-677-4593. You can also review the Questions and Answers section (FAQ) on the Wicomico County Public School’s web site (www.wcboe.org) in the “Testing for Lead in School Drinking Water” section.
If you are concerned about your child’s exposure to lead, please contact your local health department or health care provider to find out how to get your child tested for lead. The contact at the Wicomico County Health Department is Ms. Shannon Palmer, Lead and Asthma Program Supervisor, 410-543-6942 ext. 12995.
For additional information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/lead. If you are concerned about exposure: contact your local health department or health care provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead.