Guide Follow-Up Steps for Schools and EECF with Lead Detections Over 1 ppb or Copper Results Over the Action Level

Steps schools and early education and child care facilities should take if copper results are above the Action of 1.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or if lead results are above the MassDEP recommended laboratory detection limit of 0.001 mg/L or 1 parts per billion (ppb).

Table of Contents

Follow-Up Steps

  1. Shut Off Problem Fixtures
    Immediately shut off or disconnect any tap with sample results exceeding the Copper Action Level or sample results above your school's lead shut down level (e.g. 15 ppb).  Place a placard on the tap indicating that it has been shut off due to high lead or copper levels and will remain out of service until the problem has been corrected.  Other interim measures may include:
  2. Contact the Local Public Water 
    If the sampling was conducted by you or on your behalf, make your public water supplier aware of any results that exceed the copper Action Level or any samples above the MassDEP recommended laboratory detection limit of 1 ppb.  You should also notify the MassDEP Drinking Water Program of any sampling result with lead detections or copper above the Action Level.  Notification should be sent to MassDEP Drinking Water Program at 617-292-5770 or program.director-dwp@mass.gov.
  3. Conduct Outreach to Staff and Parents
    Provide staff, students, and parents with a letter informing them of the lab results and describing your plans to address any results over the Action Level for copper or above the recommended laboratory detection limit of 1 ppb for lead.  See Additional Resources below for sample/template letters.
  4. Follow-Up Sampling
    Conduct follow-up sampling to determine if the source of the contamination is the fixture or the connecting plumbing.  (See Sampling for Lead and Copper at Schools and Childcare Facilities).
  5. Permanent Measures
    Permanently reduce or eliminate the sources of lead that originate in your building's plumbing.  All measures must be conducted by a licensed plumber.  Permanent measures to address long-term health concerns may include:
    • Shut off and remove or replace problem taps or components.
    • Check ground wires and eliminate any that may accelerate corrosion.
    • Check and replace all Lead Service lines. Contact local PWS to check status of lead service line.
    • Replace lead pipes within the school or reconfigure plumbing to bypass sources of lead contamination.
    • Install time-operated solenoid valves to automatically flush problem outlets.
    • Use lead-free materials to repair or replace the facility's plumbing system.
    • Use only cold water for food and beverage preparation.
    • Clean aerators in accordance with regular maintenance schedule.
  6. Report Actions Taken
    Review the results for all schools and report any remedial actions taken through the online MassDEP LCCA Program Management Tool. All sampling results reported by a Massachusetts certified laboratory to MassDEP electronic reporting system, eDEP, will be posted two weeks from the date the samples were reported to eDEP on the MassDEP website at https://mass.gov/service-details/lead-and-copper-in-school-drinking-water-sampling-results. If your school’s lead and copper sampling results are not available through the LCCA Program Management Tool please contact the MassDEP Drinking Water Program via email at program.director-dwp@mass.gov (Subject: LCCA Reporting Tool – Sampling Results).
    It is important that you share your results and follow-up remedial actions with your school community and other interested stakeholders.
  7. Seek Assistance from Others
    Schools, school districts and early education and child care facilities should research opportunities for assistance from local officials including the public water supplier, Board of Health, Plumbing Inspector, and elected officials; as well as from certified water testing laboratories.

For an example of how your school or child care facility can move towards the lowest possible lead concentration, see Lead in School Drinking Water Program 3Ts Follow-Up Actions Chart.

Additional Resources for Follow-Up Steps

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