Delaware Working to Ensure Lead-free Drinking Water in Schools

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DELAWARE — The State of Delaware announced that it is actively working with federal and local partners to ensure all Delaware children and school staff have safe and clean drinking water. With the help of a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) with support from the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) began a sampling initiative in Delaware schools in October 2020 to identify the levels of lead within the drinking water system. During COVID-19 building closures, initial lead sampling tested buildings that had extended periods of stagnant water. During this time non-consumption water points were tested that are not expected sources of exposure for school communities.

DOE announced last month that it has contracted with a private firm, Batta Environmental Associates, Inc., a Newark-based environmental consultant, to retest all fixtures that initially tested at 7.5 ppb (0.0075 mg/L) or higher and all consumption points at schools statewide.  In December, Batta began resampling, which is anticipated to take several months to complete.  Results are being shared with the respective superintendents, charter leaders and facility leads as they are received from Batta, and districts/charters will be sharing results and any next steps with their respective communities.  Results and updates will also be posted on

Currently, all fixtures that previously tested at or above 7.5 ppb (0.0075 mg/L) were either turned off or have signage that notes the water was not for consumption, as confirmed by school representatives and state survey teams. As resampling progresses, members of the school community may notice additional fixtures are turned off, replaced, or may notice filters being installed to reduce lead exposure in schools. All steps of removal, remediation, and replacement will be communicated by the districts/charters. DOE, along with a contracted subject matter expert from Johns Hopkins University, will work with DPH in providing technical support and guidance to schools and charters as they respond to any additional elevated levels of lead.

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As stated above, the State of Delaware is actively working with federal and local partners to ensure all Delaware children and school staff have safe and clean drinking water.

According to the CDC, many sources can contribute to elevated blood lead levels including paint, soil, and drinking water. If you think that you or your child may have been exposed to lead, you should seek guidance from a medical provider. How long it takes to return an elevated blood lead level depends on the weight of the person, amount of exposure and other factors. In general, it takes repeated, ongoing exposure to create an elevated blood lead level.

Learn more about the state’s school water testing program at

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