Lead Sampling Program for Public Schools
The Indiana Finance Authority (“IFA”), with assistance from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (“IDEM”), has developed the Lead Sampling Program for Public Schools to help schools assess if there is a presence of lead in drinking water within their facilities.
Is this a voluntary program?
Yes, participation is voluntary. This program is voluntary because current state and federal laws do not require schools that purchase water from a Public Water System to test for lead. The Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule requires Public Water Systems to sample for lead at single family dwellings. The most typical type of Public Water System is a municipally-owned drinking water utility.
Who is eligible for the program?
K-12 public schools, as identified by the Indiana Department of Education, are eligible for the Lead Sampling Program. Schools that are classified as a Public Water System are not included in the program because they are already required to sample their facilities for the presence of lead.
How can lead get into the water supply?
Lead primarily enters drinking water through corrosion of internal plumbing materials such as lead service lines, lead solder, brass fittings and fixtures, and galvanized steel pipes. Lead is not commonly found in ground or surface water. Even though the drinking water received from a Public Water System meets federal and state standards for lead, a school may still have elevated lead levels due to plumbing materials and/or water use patterns. In most cases, the issue is not system-wide, but specific to the fixture identified.
How do I know if there is a problem?
Sampling is the only way to determine whether lead is present in a school’s drinking or cooking water. Sampling locations may include: drinking water fountains, food preparation sinks, and other fixtures used to provide water for human consumption.
What is considered an elevated lead level in a school’s drinking water?
In Indiana, an elevated lead level is a reading that meets or exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “action level” of 15 parts per billion (ppb). The action level of 15 ppb is not a measure of health effects. It serves as a signal to the school to take steps to reduce the lead concentration in the water.
What does the Program provide?
The Lead Sampling Program covers the cost to collect and analyze samples. Schools are responsible for any costs associated with remediation actions identified by sampling and subsequent confirmatory testing. IFA will provide remediation guidance to each school that pertains to each school’s specific results.
What is the timeline for this program?
The IFA plans to complete the majority of testing prior to May 2018. Because of the large number of interested schools, sampling will be staged over the next year. We anticipate that some sampling may start the summer of 2017, while other schools may not be visited for several months. A summary of the results will be provided to school officials approximately 5 weeks after the date samples were collected. The IFA will post bi-weekly progress reports on the Lead Sampling Program’s website: www.in.gov/ifa/2958.htm.
Printable version of the Q&As: Lead Sampling Program Fact Sheet
As of August 1, 2017, close to 150 public school districts have enrolled in the IFA’s Lead Sampling Program. See below map.
School districts may still enroll in the program until January 17, 2018. However, submissions received before May 31, 2017 will receive first priority. To enroll, a school district administrator should complete the online Lead Sampling Program Enrollment Questionnaire via the link below. If you require assistance or have any questions about the enrollment process, please contact Staci Orr at SOrr@ifa.in.gov.
The resources in this section provide guidance on designing a sampling plan, collecting samples, communicating with the public, and remediating problem fixtures.
The IFA will provide up-to-date results on the Lead Sampling Program every two weeks while the program is active.
IFA Lead Sampling Program in the news
Director, Water Resources and Infrastructure Planning Program
Program Mailing Address:
100 North Senate Avenue, Rm. 1275
Indianapolis, IN 46204