School Drinking Water Program
This webpage offers recommendations for schools and child cares that receive water from a community water supplier. Although a community water supplier is required by the Michigan Safe Drinking Water regulations to deliver quality drinking water to a customer, building plumbing and fixture materials may change the quality within the building. And, because of the typical on and off water use patterns in a school, more opportunity exists for water stagnation and water quality problems. (Note: schools and child cares that produce their own supply of water are classified as noncommunity water suppliers and are required by law to meet the state regulations).
The EGLE School Drinking Water Program provides guidance and tools to assist administrators in the reduction of detrimental health risks in their building drinking water.
EGLE recommends that all schools and child cares develop a drinking water quality maintenance plan.
Drinking Water Quality in Schools During COVID-19
Restoring and maintaining water quality after extended shutdowns and transitional periods of lower numbers in schools are critical steps for protecting educators and students from exposure to potential waterborne health risks such as microbial contamination, lead, and disinfection byproducts. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) recommends the development of a drinking water quality maintenance plan to reduce detrimental health risks associated with low to no use of water.
- April 23, 2020 Memo to School Administrators: Flushing Guidance Memo
- November 16, 2020 Memo to School Administrators: Drinking Water Management Plan
- New! January 2021 Reminder to School Administrators: Restoring Water Quality in School Buildings
- Information concerning the risks of water stagnation: Flushing Your School Building Plumbing System Before Resuming Class
- Checklist for Restoring & Maintaining Water Quality
EGLE Flushing Guidance
- Webinar: Flushing Guidance for School Building Drinking Water Quality (recorded 8/12/20, 60 min)
Webinar: Restoring Drinking Water (recorded 2/12/21, 22 min) Flushing Guidance for School Building Drinking Water Quality [PowerPoint Handout]
- School Building Flushing Best Practices (Fresh Tap Method)
- Pre-Flushing Event Guidance for School Plumbing-How to Determine Flushing Zones
- EGLE Guidance for Flushing School Plumbing (High Velocity Method)
- Building Use and Sampling Preparation Flow Chart
Additional supporting materials for restoring drinking water after an extended shutdown and developing a drinking water management plan:
- American Water Works Association Guidance: Responding to Stagnation in Buildings with Reduced or No Water Use
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: CDC Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: EPA Information on Maintaining or Restoring Water Quality in Buildings with Low or No Use
- Environmental Science Policy Research Institute: Building Water Quality and Coronavirus: Flushing Guidance for Periods of Low or No Use.
- The Michigan Return to School Roadmap
Dedicated Drinking Water Stations
Touchless, filtered, water bottle filling stations can be an effective strategy for providing hands free drinking water while reducing lead from drinking water. With the challenging nature of school building use these days, many schools are beginning to rely on the touchless filling stations to limit contact surfaces and provide good quality healthy drinking water during times when building use is limited.
Drinking Water Filter Maintenance
Buildings that have drinking water filtration devices should replace the filter cartridges per the manufactures recommendations, or when there have been longer than normal periods of stagnation with no or low water usage. It is crucial that filters are replaced after the building has been properly flushed, and before the building is returned to normal use.
Free: Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care Facility Program
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) received a federal grant for testing school and child care facility water for lead. The goal of this program is to reduce childhood lead exposure in schools and child care facilities.
The grant period is from July 2020 through September 2023
You do not have to apply for this grant. EGLE will send out an invitation to all eligible facilities. Eligibility is based on lead risk along with other factors. EGLE has sent the first round of invitations and will continue to send out invitations every quarter until the end of the grant.
If you are interested in the program and did not get an invitation, please contact EGLE for eligibility determination.
Contact Ms. Holly Gohlke, Environmental Quality Specialist, Lead and Copper Unit, Community Water Supply Section, Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division, at 517-220-1904 or GohlkeH@Michigan.gov for more information.
For School Administrators and Managers
- Healthy Kids Healthy Water Poster - Tips
- Healthy Kids Healthy Water Poster - Count to 30
- Additional flushing guidance: EPA 3Ts Flushing Best Practices
- 10 Basic Steps to School Water Testing: ten steps to investigate and develop a plan to ensure quality drinking water in your buildings. A printable guide: 10 Basic Steps to School Water Testing (PDF).
- We are currently working on revising our Michigan sampling guidance, and until completed we recommend that schools refer to the U.S. EPA's 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities
- You may find this 3Ts checklist handy: Establishing a Lead Testing Program (PDF)
- How to Identify Lead Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Products (PDF)
- Stay tuned for future training opportunities!
- Introduction to the Michigan School Water Training Program webinar - July 25, 2018 [PowerPoint Handout]
- MI School Water Training Program: Know Your Plumbing System and How to Develop an Investigative Drinking Water Sampling Plan - 8/21/18 [PowerPoint Handout]
- MI School Water Training Program: Investigative Sampling for Lead and Copper - (recorded 8/28/18, 60 min) [PowerPoint Handout]
- MI School Water Training Program: Providing Quality Drinking Water - (recorded 9/19/2018, 60 min) [PowerPoint Handout]
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
- Drinking Water Training
- Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Childcare Facilities
- 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities
- Drinking Water Requirements for States and Public Water Systems
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services: