Kentucky's Lead in Drinking Water Reduction Program
The Kentucky Division of Water is coordinating a voluntary lead sampling program for schools and childcare facilities. A federal grant from EPA under the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) will fund the program.
The program will offer schools and childcare facilities free lead testing and give educational and remedial guidance for reducing potential lead exposure in drinking water from those facilities.
Lead is a toxic metal that, even at low exposure levels, could lead to potential adverse health effects. While lead typically isn’t found in sources of drinking water, it can enter drinking water from plumbing materials such as lead pipes in distribution systems, fixtures and faucets.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, there is no current requirement for schools and childcare facilities to be tested.
Revisions to the Safe Drinking Water Act will likely include requirements that require sampling in schools and childcare facilities. The earliest required sampling will likely be in October 2024.
Children of a young age are most vulnerable to the risks posed by lead toxicity. Therefore, EPA has developed guidance criteria for lead sampling in schools and childcare facilities known as the 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities .
The 3Ts program is the foundation of Kentucky’s program and focuses on the following core principles:
Training – education on sources of lead and health effects of lead
Testing – identify potential problems with lead through sampling
Taking Action – implementing a plan to reduce lead
Communication – establish partnerships and keeping the public informed
Am I eligible?
Any public school or licensed childcare facility in Kentucky that was built prior to 2014 can apply for participation in Kentucky’s Lead in Drinking Water Reduction Program. Prioritization for the awards will be based upon the following factors:
Disadvantaged, low-income communities
Schools or childcare facilities with free or reduced lunch programs that serve 50 percent or more of children
Facilities built prior to 1986. (Safe Drinking Water Act amendments in 1986 prohibited the installation of lead pipe, solder or flux in public water systems and facilities.)
Elementary schools and childcare facilities with students aged six years or younger
How does sampling work?
The Kentucky Division of Water and contracted partners will coordinate the sampling of drinking water outlets in school or childcare facilities. Outlets to be sampled include water fountains, fill stations, kitchen sinks and any other water outlet designated as a potential source of consumption. Samples will be collected by a water professional and sent to Kentucky’s Division of Environmental Program Support (DEPS) laboratory for analysis.
Understanding the Results
Once samples have been analyzed, schools and childcare facilities will be notified of the results within two weeks.
Depending on results, the Kentucky Division of Water and its partners will work with schools and childcare facilities to provide remedial guidance and technical assistance for reducing lead levels in schools and childcare facilities.
Frequently Asked Questions