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School Drinking Water Program

boy drinking from water fountain with basketball under arm
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

School Drinking Water Program

All children need access to healthy water. Michigan children spend a significant portion of their day in school or child care facilities and quality drinking water is critical to a child’s overall health, development, and performance.

Water entering a school or child care building is required to meet federal and state drinking water quality; however, due to intermittent water use patterns, more opportunity exists for water stagnation and contaminants such as bacteria, lead, and copper to get into the water.

The EGLE School Drinking Water Program was created to provide guidance and tools for all school and child care facilities regarding communication, plumbing assessments, water management plans, sampling plans, sample collection, interpretation of results, risk reduction actions, and water moving programs for school personnel.

Contact Information

Holly Gohlke

school water bottle filling station with sampling bottles on top

Filter First Legislation

This link will take you to information and guidance materials required in the recently passed Clean Drinking Water Access Act.

Supplemental Tools

Filter First Legislation
lead sampling dashboard

School & Child Care Lead Sampling Dashboard

This is currently under construction. This link will take you to investigative lead test results for schools and child care facilities that volunteered for the free drinking water lead risk assessment.

cart with assessment bottles

Free Drinking Water Lead Risk Assessment

Lead can get into drinking water if it is present in the plumbing system or in the fixtures, and the possibility of children drinking it cannot be ignored. Testing is the only way to know if lead is in the water.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) School Drinking Water Program will assist schools in the pursuit of providing healthy drinking water for all students and staff. EGLE currently has a grant to pay for sampling and testing of school building water for lead. To find out if you qualify for this program, contact EGLE.

bottle fill station

Funding for Lead Remediation

Funding is now available to reduce the risk of lead in drinking water at school and child care facilities that participate in the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Lead Testing in School and Child Care Drinking Water Program (program). Participating facilities can seek reimbursement for the purchase of bottle filling drinking water coolers that have filters for the reduction of lead, point of use faucet filters, and replacement of older fixtures with certified “lead-free” fixtures. Contact EGLE to see if your school or child care qualifies for this program.

Lead in Drinking Water Information

lead pipe that is corrosive

How does lead get into the drinking water?

Water is naturally corrosive and will dissolve anything it is in contact with if given enough time. Lead is a soft metal, easily dissolved. A water supplier can control the water leaving the water plant and, with treatment, can reduce the corrosivity of the water being delivered to the distribution system. However, there are many factors that can cause lead to be dissolved in the water in buildings that have lead pipes, solder, or lead material in fixtures and valves. The corrosion of lead tends to occur more frequently in “soft” water (lathers soap easily) and acidic (low pH) water. Other factors such as temperature (hot water dissolves faster), alkalinity, chlorine levels, the age and condition of plumbing, and the amount of time water sits in the plumbing without movement also contribute to the corrosion potential.

orange water tower

Why do public water supplies use 15ppb of lead as the level to take action to reduce the risk of lead in drinking water?

The public water supplier is required by law to monitor the corrosivity (ability to “eat away” other things such as metals) of the water they deliver to customers. They collect a set of samples throughout the water distribution system (typically at homes) and, if 10 percent of all the samples collected are greater than 0.015 mg/L (15 ppb) for lead, the water supplier must take action to reduce the corrosiveness of the water in the system. The action level of 15 ppb for lead is not a health-based standard and is based upon the USEPA’s evaluation of available data on the ability of corrosion control to reduce lead levels at the tap. This action level is a screening tool for determining when certain treatment actions are needed. 

child drinking out of fountain

Why do we want to reduce the amount of lead in drinking water at schools and child care facilities?

There is no known safe level of lead exposure for children. Based on lead sample results, EGLE encourages schools and childcare facilities to prioritize remediation efforts to reduce lead levels to the lowest possible amounts.

EGLE Resources and Tools

man performing a plumbing assessment
sample map of school with sampling plan fixtures

Fixture Identification & Inventory Tools

water fountain and bottle filler with fixture identification code

Developing a Sampling Plan Tools

Be sure to include your facility site map or floor plan to mark the flow of cold water and fixture location.

Sampling Tools