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Water Testing for Lead

(Updated December 2023)

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The health and safety of our students are paramount to all of us at DC Public Schools (DCPS). To ensure the safety of the drinking water within schools, filters are installed on all consumable water sources in every DCPS facility and are replaced annually per the manufacturer's recommendations. Consumable sources include water fountains, water filling stations, and food prep sinks, as well as the sinks located in health suites, Early Childhood Education classrooms, and staff lounges. 

Also on an annual basis, the Department of General Services (DGS) conducts water testing on these sources to test for elevated levels of lead. To see the specific testing dates for your child's school, please visit the Annual Water Testing Schedule for DC Public Schools.  

DGS Process, Action Levels, and Remediation

Per District of Columbia law, all drinking water sources must test below 5 ppb (parts per billion), which is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standard used to regulate bottled water. 

If a drinking water source tests above 5 ppb, it will be immediately removed from service while DCPS communicates results to families and shares how DGS is working to fix the issue. Per the District's Water Filtration and Testing Protocol, remediation can include placing new filters on the source, and in some instances, replacing faucets, connections, and other plumbing components. A drinking water source will not be returned to operation until it is tested again, and results show a reading below 5 ppb. 

Non-drinking water sources, such as sinks in bathrooms, classrooms, and utility closets, are safe for hand washing only. These sources are clearly labeled to instruct students not to drink water from them. 


Please use the following websites as resources to learn more about lead, review the national standards for water safety in schools, and read through testing protocol, respectively: 

If you have additional questions, please email [email protected].