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Water Testing for Lead

(Updated August 29, 2018)

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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, the Department of General Services (DGS) conducts water testing in all DCPS school buildings.

What’s Happened So Far?

For School Year 2016-2017, new filtration systems were installed on all drinking water sources—water fountains, water coolers, and sinks located in health suites, Early Childhood Education classrooms, and staff lounges. Those sources were then tested for elevated levels of lead. Results and any actions taken were shared with parents and families.

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 standard to which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water.

For School Year 2019-2020, all filters will be replaced and DGS will conduct testing on the drinking sources within each school. To see the specific testing dates for your child’s school, please visit the Annual Water Testing Schedule for DC Public Schools

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 call (202) 442-5192 or email [email protected].

Thank you for your continued support.