California B
Schools Tested
5509 (out of 1,000)
Enrolled Students
5509 (out of 1,000)
Lead in Water Action Level
4 Parts Per Billion
Testing Status
5509 (out of 1,000) MORE
Legislation Status
5509 (out of 1,000) MORE
Web Site
Next Steps for Schools Clear
Clear Point of Contact
Results Data Available
Summary of Testing Results Available
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FIND YOUR STATE FIND YOUR STATE

Key Findings

  • 21 States have made little to no progress towards preventing lead exposure in school drinking water.
  • 16 States have passed legislation addressing lead in schools.

Top Achievers

  • Washington D.C.
  • California
  • Rhode Island
  • Oregon
  • New Jersey

Project Findings: Preliminary Release

SimpleWater set out to track the status of lead water testing in schools across all fifty states.

Our goal:

Provide you with an easy way to see and understand the risks of exposure in your area.

What did we learn?

In short, good information about your school’s lead risk is often too hard to find. A litany of policy contradictions, testing requirements and data gaps with respect to lead in school water cast doubt upon the overall integrity of our schools’ environmental health infrastructure.

Main Findings on Lead In School Water

There are no Federal regulations requiring schools to test water for lead. This recent EPA announcement could change that.

Read more

About half of US states have proposed or passed legislation related to water-borne lead, fewer than half have actually funded such legislation.

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Most lead contamination in school drinking water happens at the faucet fixture or other on-premise plumbing, not from the distribution system or water utility.

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Children are, by far, most susceptible to the dangers of lead-contaminated drinking water. Their exposure risk comes not just from home and school, but also from daycare facilities.

Read more

State List

State Grade Regulator Lead Action
Level
Legislation
Status
Testing Status
No states match your search ''
Alabama F Yes 20 PPB No Progress 45% - 50%
Alaska F - No Progress < 5%
Arizona C+ Yes 15 PPB No Progress > 50%
Arkansas F - No Progress < 5%
California B+ Yes 15 PPB Passed > 50%
Colorado C Yes 15 PPB Passed < 5%
Connecticut F - Pending < 5%
Delaware F - No Progress < 5%
Florida F - No Progress 40% - 45%
Georgia F - Pending 30% - 35%
Hawaii F - No Progress < 5%
Idaho F Yes - No Progress < 5%
Illinois C Yes 5 PPB Passed 15% - 20%
Indiana C+ Yes 15 PPB Pending 45% - 50%
Iowa F - No Progress < 5%
Kansas F - No Progress < 5%
Kentucky F - No Progress 10% - 15%
Louisiana F Yes 15 PPB Passed < 5%
Maine D- Yes - Passed 30% - 35%
Maryland C+ Yes 20 PPB Passed 35% - 40%
Massachusetts C Yes 15 PPB Pending 40% - 45%
Michigan D- Yes 5 PPB No Progress < 5%
Minnesota F Yes 20 PPB Pending < 5%
Mississippi F - No Progress < 5%
Missouri F - No Progress < 5%
Montana F - Pending 10% - 15%
Nebraska F - No Progress < 5%
Nevada F 20 PPB No Progress 45% - 50%
New Hampshire B Yes 15 PPB Passed > 50%
New Jersey B Yes 15 PPB Passed > 50%
New Mexico F Yes 15 PPB No Progress 5% - 10%
New York B- Yes 15 PPB Passed > 50%
North Carolina F - No Progress < 5%
North Dakota F Yes - No Progress < 5%
Ohio D Yes 15 PPB No Progress 15% - 20%
Oklahoma F - No Progress < 5%
Oregon B Yes 15 PPB Passed > 50%
Pennsylvania D Yes 15 PPB Passed < 5%
Rhode Island B Yes 15 PPB Passed > 50%
South Carolina F - No Progress < 5%
South Dakota F - No Progress < 5%
Tennessee F Yes 20 PPB Passed 5% - 10%
Texas F Yes - Pending 10% - 15%
Utah C Yes 15 PPB Pending > 50%
Vermont B- Yes 4 PPB Passed 5% - 10%
Virginia F Yes - Passed < 5%
Washington D- Yes 10 PPB Pending 5% - 10%
Washington D.C. A- Yes 5 PPB Passed > 50%
West Virginia F - No Progress < 5%
Wisconsin F - No Progress 5% - 10%
Wyoming F - No Progress < 5%

Project Summary

We sought to understand the variety of approaches states are or aren't taking to address the potential of lead in school drinking water.

We learned that a majority of states are doing very little to nothing at all. Only a few states have a comprehensive strategy for addressing lead in school drinking water and communicating that to the public.

The most common shortcomings include:

No Curve On This Exam

Thirty-one states scored F in our evaluation of their lead testing programs. Most simply have no policy at all. For states with lead testing programs, many still fall short of an A grade because their laws are not funded or lack rigor. For example, a testing program that includes only 1 faucet per school is not sufficient.

21 states

have made little to no progress towards preventing lead exposure in school drinking water

AK AR CT DE FL GA HI IA KS KY MS MO NE NC ND OK SC SD WV WY WI
How did we evaluate "progress"? These were states that scored lower than 15% based upon our rubric. Typically this was a result of the state making little or no progress with regards to transparency (accessibility of information), action (what legislative steps are being taken), and progress (how many schools have been tested) with regards to evaluating lead in school drinking water.

30 states

have supported pilot studies or sampling programs to test for lead in school drinking water.

AL AZ CA CO ID IL IN LA ME MD MA MI MN MT* NV NH NJ NM NY OH OR PA RI TN TX* UT VT VA WA DC

 

Of the 30 states that have conducted pilot studies or sampling programs, 20 states have organized their data so that it is possible to understand the prevalence of lead in school drinking water across the state.

AL AZ CA CO IN LA MD MA MT* NH NJ NY OH OR PA RI TX* UT VT WA

 

16 states have passed legislation with regards to lead in schools, whereas 9 states currently have pending legislation:

Passed:

CA CO IL LA ME MD NH NJ NY OR PA RI TN VT VA DC

Pending:

CT GA IN MA MN MT TX UT WA

Methods & Scoring Rubric

After the tragedy in Flint, MI there are still thousands of school districts nationwide without effective lead testing or prevention measures. Using EPA and PIRG documentation as a baseline, we scored every US state based on critical variables of what we consider good progress towards mitigating lead exposure in schools. These critical variables were broken down into the categories of transparency, action and progress.

Beginning with the rubric established by PIRG, we expanded it to evaluate all 50 states because PIRG’s own evaluation didn’t yet represent the full country. During that process we decided to add additional metrics to our scoring rubric in light of the things we learned.

Transparency

Transparency was evaluated based on whether the state had a webpage, contact information, publicly-provided sampling results, a summary concerning the prevalence of lead in schools, and clear next steps.

Action

Action was evaluated based on how strict the state's lead action level is, as well as on the status of lead legislation for schools.

Progress

Progress was evaluated based on whether there has been a state-led sampling program and how many schools have been tested.

Scoring

Using these variables above we calculated a numerical score for every state’s lead in schools testing and treatment program:

Each state was then assigned a letter grade based on their SimpleWater School Lead Score as a percentage:

Read More

Useful Resources For You

These were some of the best resources we found for helping scope US school lead in water:

Here Are Our Next Steps

Below we list the shortcomings of our current rubric. In the next update we plan to address the following: