In a continued effort to ensure safe drinking water in schools in Massachusetts, on April 26, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker and State Treasurer Deb Goldberg announced that $2 million from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (MCWT) would fund cooperative efforts to help Massachusetts public schools test for lead and copper in drinking water. Under the “Assistance Program for Lead in School Drinking Water”, MassDEP provides technical assistance to ensure that public school districts and publicly-owned early education and care (EEC) programs can sample the taps and water fountains in their schools and identify any results that show copper over the Action Level or lead above the MassDEP recommended laboratory detection limit of 1 ppb.
The Action Level for copper is 1.3 mg/L or 1.3 parts per million (ppm), and the MassDEP recommended laboratory detection level for lead is 0.001 mg/L or 1 parts per billion (ppb). Most lead and copper get into drinking water after the water leaves the local well or treatment plant and comes into contact with plumbing materials containing lead and copper. These include lead pipe and lead solder (commonly used until 1986) as well as faucets, valves, and other components made of copper and brass. The physical/chemical interaction that occurs between the water and plumbing is referred to as corrosion. The extent to which corrosion occurs contributes to the amount of lead and copper that can be released into the drinking water.
Parties interested in other historical lead and copper data should contact the school district or school directly. To contact your school department directly to learn about your school's program to address lead and copper in drinking water, find your school contact information via the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website at http://profiles.doe.mass.edu.
The lead and copper sampling result data, collected via MassDEP's electronic data reporting system eDEP, and remediation actions data, collected via the LCCA Program Management Tool, is now available through The Energy & Environmental Affairs Data Portal (EEA Data Portal).
The data in the EEA Data Portal comes from one or more of the following sources:
- Voluntary participation in the Commonwealth’s 2016 Assistance Program for Lead in Drinking Water (being administered by MassDEP and UMass Amherst).
- Lead and copper sampling conducted by local community public water systems and Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) on behalf of their systems as part of the Lead and Copper Rule.
- Voluntary sampling by schools and EECF under their own Lead Contamination and Control Act (LCCA) programs. For more information on the LCCA see https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/epalccapamphlet1989.pdf
Data is made available to the public two weeks after sampling results are submitted to MassDEP through eDEP. This allows schools and EECFs time to conduct communications and outreach to students, families, staff and other local stakeholders. This allows schools and EECFs time to post all remediation actions taken at fixtures with lead and/or copper exceedances in the LCCA Program Management Tool. In some instances, individual school / EECF sample results data reported to eDEP may be delayed or not complete for a number of reasons. These delays may result in the complete data set for each school taking more than two weeks to be available online. Also, these results may not reflect all samples taken at each school or EECF because the laboratory may not have completed its work and/or the school may collect additional samples. Check back for updates that cover any additional results. A school's status may change as additional results are reported to MassDEP. Only sample results data submitted through eDEP is available in the sample results section of the spreadsheet.
Schools and EECFs may have taken actions to address lead and copper which are not shown in the EEA Data Portal. Schools and EECF that are not currently using eDEP and/or the LCCA Program Management Tool are encouraged to contact the MassDEP Drinking Water Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-292-5770 to get access to these online reporting applications.