Deadline Approaching – Testing for Lead in Drinking Water at Private Schools

Deadline: July 1, 2019

We are now within three months of the deadline of July 1, 2019 to complete drinking water testing mandated by the 2018 New Hampshire law entitled: Preventing Childhood Lead Poisoning from Paint and Water. Schools that have not yet undertaken the required drinking water testing should do so without delay. Those that have tested, and may be undertaking steps to fix identified problems, should be aware of a new grant program that will reimburse up to 50% of eligible expenses.

What Is Required?

As we first reported last fall, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (“NHDES”) issued notice to “New Hampshire Schools and Licensed Childcare Facilities” both public and private schools are required to test for lead in drinking water at all locations where water is available for consumption by children.

NHDES is concerned about sinks, water fountains, piping, solder, faucets, fixtures, and other equipment that may leach lead once drinking water arrives at the school. Should a laboratory result for lead above 15 parts per billion (ppb) be documented, a formal Remediation Plan must be submitted to NHDES.

Parental Notification

If the testing finds that there are lead exceedances above 15 ppb, parents and guardians must be notified within five business days of the school receiving the laboratory results.  

Grant Money Availability

The NH Department of Education issued notice on April 2, 2019 of the availability of $1.6 million in grant money to offset 50% of the total remediation costs incurred by a school if it is required to respond to a lead exceedance. There is a detailed grant application process, after which up to 50% of eligible costs will be reimbursed.

Additional Information

Michael J. Quinn, Esq.
Director, McLane Middleton
(603) 334-6925

Mike is a director in the firm’s Litigation Department and the Energy and Environment Practice Group. He has advised and represented private schools in New Hampshire and New England on a wide range of environmental matters for in excess of 25 years including compliance with the lead testing requirements. 

Linda S. Johnson, Esq.
Director, McLane Middleton
(603) 628-1267

Linda is co-chair of McLane Middleton’s Education Law Group and focuses her practice on understanding and serving the needs of independent and boarding schools. She serves as outside legal counsel to many of the country’s top independent and boarding schools including the largest independent academy in the United States. She also provides counseling services, policy development and review, and trainings to public schools especially in the area of safe schools and employment law. She works closely with heads of schools, deans, financial officers, trustees, and others.