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Voluntary Lead Testing in School and Child Care Drinking Water

TCEQ is offering a free statewide program to help eligible participants conduct voluntary sampling and analysis for lead in drinking water at their schools and child care facilities.

Lead Testing for School and Child Care logo

A Program for Reducing Children's Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water

Sampling and laboratory testing are the only way to determine if lead is present in a school or child care facility's drinking water.

This voluntary program offers free training and guidance on how to identify sources of lead in drinking water and how to reduce exposure to lead where children are cared for. To evaluate potential exposure and communicate your efforts, we offer sampling materials and laboratory testing, and help communicating your plans and results with your school or child care community.

Our program is based on the EPA's 3TsExit the TCEQTraining, Testing, and Taking Action

When can I enroll?

The program is under development, but the enrollment period is coming soon. Sign up now to receive advanced notification of the enrollment period. Funding for the program is limited, which means spaces are limited.


Young girl drinking from public water fountain

What does participation involve?

To help you successfully complete the program, you will receive:

  • Education about the health effects and sources of lead.
  • Guidance on how to communicate with your community about the program.
  • Guidance on selecting testing sites.
  • Training on how to collect samples and send them to a laboratory for testing.
  • Recommendations on how to reduce exposure to lead.

Who is Eligible?

All Texas public schools and regulated child care programs are eligible, but priority is given to:

  • Schools and child care programs in low income or underserved areas (for example, schools where at least 50% of the children receive free and reduced lunch, and Head Start facilities).
  • Schools and child care facilities mainly caring for children 6 years old and younger.
  • Older facilities that are more likely to have pipes and fixtures containing lead.
Day care teachers with toddlers around a table playing with toys

TCEQ will guide you through the steps in the program. By participating, you should expect to:

  • Submit an online enrollment form.
  • Receive guidance on planning and managing your testing program.
  • Learn about sources of lead and the health effects of lead and convey this information to your facility community.
  • Create a sampling plan by identifying all drinking and cooking water outlets in your facility and complete a plumbing profile to identify potential lead sources in your building.
  • Complete sample collector training.
  • Receive a sampling kit, collect samples, and ship samples to a laboratory for testing.
  • Take action to reduce lead in drinking water, as needed.
  • Communicate with your facility community before sampling, when results are available, and of any corrective actions you take or plan to take.
  • Maintain records.

To enroll, we need information about your facility, the children you care for, and your point of contact. This information is used to determine eligibility and prioritize participation based on need.

Having the following information will help you complete the enrollment form.

  • Facility details: facility type (school or child care), state assigned identification number, facility name and address, and grade levels at the facility.
  • Total number of buildings.
  • Construction dates of buildings.
  • Approximate number of outlets used for drinking and food and beverage preparation.
  • Drinking water source (public water system or private well).
  • Total number of children registered.
  • Number of children 6 years old or younger.
  • Number of children receiving free and reduced lunch.
  • Number of faculty or staff.
  • Name and contact information for facility primary point of contact and sampling event coordinator.

We will provide the guidance you need to plan and manage your program. Proper planning and knowing the roles and responsibilities is key. Whether it is a one-person team or multiple people, knowing what to expect will help you complete your lead testing program.

Key Individuals

Identify the key individuals that can fill the roles listed below. Your team should consist of staff that can:

  • Approve the program.
  • Assist with program planning—communication plan, recordkeeping, and team building.
  • Assist with program implementation—sampling plan development, sample collection, corrective actions, and routine maintenance.

Program Roles and Responsibilities

Determine who can:

  • Be the main contact for the lead testing program.
  • Handle communication with your facility community.
  • Educate members of your community on sources of lead and associated health effects.
  • Manage recordkeeping.
  • Create the sampling plan.
  • Collect the samples.
  • Oversee corrective actions, as needed.

Before collecting samples, you will create a sampling plan. We will provide the training you need to accomplish this. The purpose of developing a sampling plan is to gather essential information about a building, its plumbing materials, and the outlets people use for drinking water and food and beverage preparation.

By creating a sampling plan, you will learn:

  • How water enters the building.
  • The direction the water flows.
  • The materials it flows through.
  • The outlets used to distribute the water.

This information will help you collect samples that produce useful test results, that help locate potential sources of lead, and make accurate and affordable decisions on how to correct a problem.

A sampling plan consists of three parts:

  • Building diagram (a floor plan to record locations of water outlets, entry point of water, and direction of water flow)
  • Plumbing profile (to gather information about building plumbing and fixtures).
  • Inventory of water outlets.

After completing your sample collector training, we will mail you a sampling kit with a pre-paid return shipping label. You will ship the collected samples to a laboratory for analysis.

Samples need to represent drinking water used at the beginning of a regular day. You will collect samples:

  • From sites identified on your sampling plan.
  • Starting at the outlet closest to where the water enters the building.
  • From cold water outlets, before your facility opens and before the outlet has been used.
  • After an 8 to 18-hour water stagnation period.
  • In 250 mL sample bottles.

There are solutions for reducing lead exposure and improving drinking water quality. Once your samples are analyzed, and the results are known, we will provide recommendations in an action plan. You can determine the corrective action that is right for each site in your building by using this action plan.

Examples of corrective actions are:

  • Routine maintenance—such as flushing water from outlets that go unused for several hours or more.
  • Providing filters at problem outlets.
  • Removing access to problem outlets by temporarily or permanently taking them out of service.
  • Replacing problem outlets.
  • Reconfiguring or upgrading plumbing.

No, this program is entirely voluntary. Currently, there are no state or federal regulations that require drinking water testing at schools and child care facilities.

Find information about the health effects of lead, its sources, and how to reduce exposure to it at EPA's webpage: Basic Information about Lead in Drinking WaterExit the TCEQ

Our program guidance is based on the EPA's 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities (EPA's 3Ts GuidanceExit the TCEQ) (EPA 815-B-18-007; October 2018). You will find details of the EPA's information and recommendations for schools and child care facilities who want to prepare and build a program to reduce lead levels in drinking water.

Funding is provided through the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, Section 2107Exit the TCEQ: Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water grant.

Have questions or comments? You can contact us at LTSCC@tceq.texas.gov.

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