Why Test for Lead in Drinking Water

Unless you test for it, there’s no way of knowing if lead is in drinking water.

Children can come in contact with lead in many ways. Lead exposure poses a special risk to young children because they absorb lead into their systems more easily than adults do. Lead can slow down growth, impair development and learning, and can cause behavior problems.

While a major source of lead exposure in Vermont children is paint, lead in older plumbing and fixtures can add to a child’s overall lead exposure. Plus, water that sits in lead plumbing and fixtures when it's not being used likely contains higher levels of lead. This is why it's important to make sure lead levels in drinking water are as low as possible.

Vermont's Lead in Drinking Water Testing Law

To address these risks, Act 66 (2019) requires all Vermont school and licensed or registered child care providers to test their drinking and cooking water for lead according to the schedule in the rule. If lead is found at or above the action level of 4 parts per billion (ppb), the school or child care provider must immediately take the fixture out of service and take steps to eliminate or reduce the amount of lead to below 4 ppb.

Learn more about the law and findings from the first round of testing

Information for Parents, Caregivers and Staff

Information for Schools and Child Care Providers

Ongoing testing is required. Taps at schools and child care facilities need to be tested every three years according to the schedule in the rule. To order lead in drinking water testing materials, please follow the step-by-step instructions below.

For child care providers: The instructions on this page are for lead in drinking water testing only. If you have a private drinking water source (drilled well, dug well or spring) and need to order test kits for inorganic chemicals and bacteria, contact the Health Department at LeadChildCare@vermont.gov.
 

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Schools and child care providers are now responsible for the cost of testing and remediation (fixes). The State is no longer paying for the cost of testing and remediation. 

Information for Child Care Programs Operating in a School (preschool or afterschool)

Schools must collect drinking water samples from all taps that are currently or reasonably expected to be used for drinking or cooking in the buildings they own, control and operate. To simplify the testing process, the Health Department recommends that schools collect water samples for licensed child care programs that operate in their school.

However, it is the responsibility of the child care provider to be sure the law’s requirements for their facilities are met. This includes ensuring that taps within the child care area are tested, and that any taps found to have levels at or above 4 ppb are addressed.

The child care provider is also responsible for notifying their program’s parents, guardians and staff at least 5 days before water sample collection begins, and within 10 business days of receiving results from the lab.

School staff and child care providers should discuss the school's plans and schedule for:

  • Identifying and reviewing the taps that need to be tested
  • Collecting the water samples
  • Notifying parents, guardians and staff after receiving results
  • Implementing any required remediation plans
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The Tap Inventory Management System (TIMS) is a new online system where you can manage your facility’s taps, update contact information, order test kits, and submit remediation actions. The instructions below link to various places in the TIMS User Guide.

Go to the TIMS User Guide

Lead Testing Steps
Step 1: Log into TIMS


Log into TIMSIf this is your first time logging in, follow the instructions in the TIMS User Guide.

Step 2: Check your facility's information

Confirm that your facility's information is correct. If you need to make any changes, follow the steps in the TIMS User Guide.

Step 3: Review your taps

The taps that you tested during the first round will be in TIMS. Follow the instructions in the TIMS User Guide to:

  1. Review your taps.
  2. Add any new taps. 
  3. Remove any taps listed that have been permanently removed or are not used for cooking, drinking, teeth brushing or preparing formula. 

See photos of different types of taps

If taps are not used for cooking, drinking, teeth brushing or preparing formula, but can be easily accessed by the public, they must have signs stating that the water cannot be used as such. Signs must include visuals for the non-reader. 

See examples of “Do Not Drink” and “For Handwashing Only” signs

Step 4: Order test kits

You order test kits by submitting a work order through TIMS. You can choose which certified drinking water lab to use during the ordering process. 

  • If you choose to have your work order sent directly to the Health Department Lab, the lab will contact you for payment, and then send the test kits to your shipping address within 1 to 3 weeks once payment is received. 
  • If you choose to send your work order to an alternate lab, you must save and send the work order to the lab. Find an alternate lab that offers Act 66 testing.

Follow instructions in the TIMS User Guide to submit a work order.

Step 5: Send a letter and information sheet at least 5 days before you begin collecting samples

You’ll need to send a letter and an information sheet to parents, guardians and staff at least 5 days before you begin collecting samples.

The letter should include:

  • When you plan to collect samples
  • Why you’re being asked to test
  • The requirements for testing
  • The health effects of lead and other sources of lead (included on the informational sheet)
  • How you will notify parents, guardians and staff about the results
  • How you will respond to results that are at or above the action level

A letter template and information sheet with all these elements are available for you to use. They are translated into nine languages.

The yellow highlighted sections in all capital letters on the letter template will need to be edited by you before sending out the letters (for example, DATE, SCHOOL/CHILD CARE PROGRAM NAME, etc.).

Download the letter template
Download the information sheet
Download translated versions of the letter template and informational sheet

Step 6: Collect water samples

Be sure to follow any instructions the lab sent in the box of test kits.

You will need to collect two samples at each tap — a first draw and a flush.

For combo fixtures (for example, a sink with a faucet and a drinking fountain or bottle fill station and drinking fountain), you will need to collect two first draw samples — one from each tap — but only one flush sample. For ice machines, you will need to collect one first draw sample only.

Here are some tips:

  • Collect samples first thing in the morning after the water has been sitting in the pipes for at least 8 hours. 
  • Make sure you collect all samples before the water starts being used for the day. 
  • Don’t sample the first day back after a weekend, holiday or vacation.
  • If you’re collecting water from a bathroom tap, make sure the toilet in that bathroom isn’t flushed for at least 8 hours before you collect the sample. Use a different bathroom, if possible.
  • Collect all samples from your work order starting closest to where the water enters the building.
  • Collect all first draw samples first. Then go back and collect all flush samples.

Watch this video on how to collect water samples:

Step 7: Return samples to the lab

Return your sample bottles within 1 week of collecting your water samples. Follow the return shipping instructions the lab sent in the box of test kits, and be sure to:

  • Screw the caps on tightly.
  • Pack the sample bottles and any documentation (for example, a water sample worksheet) securely in any box(es) using packing material to make sure they don’t move around.
  • Seal the box with packing tape.
Results and Remediation Steps
Step 1: Receive your test results

Check with the laboratory you used to see when and how you will receive your results. All results will be posted on the results website one week after you receive them. Please note that results for a tap used by a licensed child care program that operates in a school may be listed under the school’s name.

If all of your results were below 4 ppb, the only thing you need to do is complete Step 3 of this section. You may still choose to remediate taps with results below 4 ppb (referred to as "voluntary remediation"). However, this is not required by law. Please note that there is no safe level of exposure to lead. The Health Department recommends that lead levels in water be as close to zero as possible. 

If you choose to complete voluntary remediation, follow the instructions in the TIMS User Guide. They will be posted on the results website. Any voluntary remediation actions for taps that will still be used for consumption require follow-up testing to make sure lead levels are below 4 ppb.

Go to the Lead in Drinking Water Results Website

Step 2: Complete and submit immediate remediation actions

If any lead levels are found to be at or above 4 ppb, you are required to immediately stop using that tap for drinking or cooking, food prep, making bottles and brushing teeth.

Below are the immediate remediation actions you can take while you are figuring out the best permanent remediation action. See the Remediation Guidance for more information. If you need help determining which remediation action to use, contact the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) by emailing ANR.DECSchoolLeadProject@vermont.gov or calling 802-261-5603.

Follow the instructions in the TIMS User Guide to submit your immediate remediation actions. You must submit them within 5 business days of receiving your results.

Immediate remediation actions

  • Remove the fixture from service, which means physically removing the fixture or valving off the fixture by accessing the supply piping and shutting off the flow of water to the fixture.
  • Post a sign that says “Do Not Drink” or “For Handwashing Only.”
  • Install a point-of-use filter after consulting with the Department of Environmental Conservation by emailing ANR.DECSchoolLeadProject@vermont.gov or calling 802-261-5603.
Step 3: Send a letter within 10 business days of receiving your results

You’ll need to send a letter to parents, guardians and staff of the results within 10 business days of receiving your results.

For licensed child care programs that operate in a school: the child care provider is responsible for notifying their program’s parents, guardians, and staff within 10 business days of receiving results from the lab. Child care providers should talk with school staff to learn more about the results and any remediation actions being taken.

Letter templates are available for you to use – one for when all results are below 4 ppb and one for any result is at or above 4 ppb. They are also translated into nine languages. The yellow highlighted sections in all capital letters on the letter template will need to be edited by you before sending out the letters (for example, DATE, SCHOOL/FACILITY, etc.). 

You may also include any additional information you want to share with your community. We recommend including the test results in the letter. You can do this by copying and pasting the summary of results table from your results email. We also suggest including the name of your program as it’s written above the table. That is the name used on the results website and will make it easier for parents, guardians and staff to find the results.

Download the below 4 ppb letter template
Download the at or above 4 ppb letter template
Download translated versions of the letter templates

Please note that all results will be posted on the results website. Results for licensed child care programs that operate in a school will be listed under the school’s name.

Step 4: Determine the best permanent remediation action and submit your remediation plan

The best permanent remediation action depends on the results for that tap and whether the first draw sample, flush sample, or both samples were at or above 4 ppb.

Below is a list of the remediation actions. For more details, see the Remediation Guidance. If you need to consult with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), email ANR.DECSchoolLeadProject@vermont.gov or call 802-261-5603.

Follow the instructions in the TIMS User Guide to submit your planned remediation action for each tap. You must submit them within 6 months of receiving your results.

Permanent fixture remediation actions

  • Fixture removal (You must physically remove the faucet or fountain and cap the supply pipes. Sink basins can stay in place so there aren’t holes in the countertop.)
  • Fixture removal – new fixture installation in other location (for example, centrally located bottle fill station installation)
  • Fixture replacement
  • Point-of-use filter installation (after consultation with DEC)

Permanent plumbing remediation actions

  • Internal plumbing replacement or bypass
  • Service line replacement
  • Automatic flushing device installation
  • Point-of-use filter installation (after consultation with DEC)
  • Treatment installation/optimization (after consultation with DEC)

Download the Remediation Guidance
Download the Plumbing Profile Questionnaire

Step 5: Complete and submit permanent remediation actions

Permanently remediate your taps according to your remediation plan. Then follow the instructions in the TIMS User Guide to submit your permanent remediation action for each tap. You must submit them within 18 months of receiving results.

Once you have recorded your permanent remediation actions in TIMS for all taps that were at or above 4 ppb, you will receive an email confirming that your remediation actions have been saved.

Download the Remediation Guidance

Step 6: Do follow-up testing

If you permanently removed the fixture, then you do not need to do follow-up testing. 

If you did not permanently remove the fixture, then you are required to do follow-up testing to make sure the lead levels of that tap are below 4 ppb. 

Follow-up testing information and test kits will be sent to you automatically once you have submitted all of your permanent remediation actions in TIMS. Go to the Follow-up Testing Steps section for step-by-step instructions.

Follow-up Testing Steps
Step 1: Receive email notification with list of taps that need to be re-tested

You will receive an email letting you know your taps are ready to be tested.

  • If you choose to have your work order sent directly to the Health Department Lab, the lab will contact you for payment, and then send test kits to your shipping address within 1 to 3 weeks once payment is received. 
  • If you choose to send your work order to an alternate lab, you must save and send the work order to the lab. Find a lab that offers Act 66 testing.  
Step 2: Flush the taps for 3 weeks before collecting water samples

After placing your follow-up testing work order, begin flushing the taps that will need to be re-tested. For 3 weeks, turn on the taps to run water through the new fixtures or plumbing for a few minutes twice per day every day until the day you begin collecting samples.

Step 3: Collect water samples
  • Follow the instructions the lab sent in the box of test kits.
  • Collect all samples from your work order starting closest to where the water enters the building.
  • Collect all first draw samples first. Then go back and collect all flush samples.

Watch this video on how to collect water samples:

Step 4: Return samples to the lab

Return your sample bottles within 1 week of collecting your water samples. Follow the return shipping instructions the lab sent in the box of test kits, and be sure to:

  • Screw the caps on tightly.
  • Pack the sample bottles and any documentation (for example, a water sample worksheet) securely in any box(es) using packing material to make sure they don’t move around.
  • Seal the box with packing tape.
Step 5: Receive your follow-up test results

Check with the lab you used to see when and how you can expect to receive your results.

  • If the result is below 4 ppb, you don't need to do anything else.
  • If the result is at or above 4 ppb, then go back and re-do Steps 2-6 under the Results and Remediation section above. 
Step 6: Notify parents, guardians and staff of results

Notify parents, guardians and staff of results within 10 business days of receiving the follow-up test results from the lab. Follow the instructions in Step 3 in the Results and Remediation Steps section above.

Materials for Schools and Child Care Providers

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Documents, Letter Templates and Other Resources
Phase of the ProcessTitleDescription
Lead TestingPhotos of Fixture TypesSee images of the different types of fixtures for sample collection.
Lead TestingNotification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School StaffUse this letter template to send to parents, guardians and school staff at least 5 days before you begin collecting samples.
Lead TestingInformation Sheet - Lead Poisoning in ChildrenInclude this information sheet with the notification letter sent to parents, guardians and school staff at least 5 days before you begin collecting samples.
ResultsNotification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff - Results BELOW 4 ppbUse this letter template to send to parents, guardians and school staff within 10 business days of receiving results that are BELOW 4 ppb.
ResultsNotification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff - Results AT OR ABOVE 4 ppbUse this letter template to send to parents, guardians and school staff within 10 business days of receiving results that are AT OR ABOVE 4 ppb.
RemediationRemediation GuidanceWhen you receive your results, use this flow chart to plan out and log your remediation actions and submit your Remediation Plan.
Remediation"Do Not Drink" and "For Handwashing Only" signsPost these signs at taps that had results at or above 4 ppb as an immediate remediation action.
RemediationPlumbing Profile QuestionnaireUse this questionnaire if you need help with planning out your remediation actions before contacting DEC.
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Translated Materials
LanguageTitle
ArabicBefore Sample Collection Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
BurmeseBefore Sample Collection Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
FrenchBefore Sample Collection Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
KirundiBefore Sample Collection Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
NepaliBefore Sample Collection Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
SomaliBefore Sample Collection Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
SpanishBefore Sample Collection Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
SwahiliBefore Sample Collection Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
VietnameseBefore Sample Collection Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
ArabicInformation Sheet - Lead Poisoning in Children
BurmeseInformation Sheet - Lead Poisoning in Children
FrenchInformation Sheet - Lead Poisoning in Children
KirundiInformation Sheet - Lead Poisoning in Children
NepaliInformation Sheet - Lead Poisoning in Children
SomaliInformation Sheet - Lead Poisoning in Children
SpanishInformation Sheet - Lead Poisoning in Children
SwahiliInformation Sheet - Lead Poisoning in Children
VietnameseInformation Sheet - Lead Poisoning in Children
ArabicResults AT OR ABOVE 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
BurmeseResults AT OR ABOVE 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
FrenchResults AT OR ABOVE 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
KirundiResults AT OR ABOVE 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
NepaliResults AT OR ABOVE 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
SomaliResults AT OR ABOVE 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
SpanishResults AT OR ABOVE 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
SwahiliResults AT OR ABOVE 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
VietnameseResults AT OR ABOVE 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
ArabicResults BELOW 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
BurmeseResults BELOW 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
FrenchResults BELOW 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
KirundiResults BELOW 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
NepaliResults BELOW 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
SomaliResults BELOW 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
SpanishResults BELOW 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
SwahiliResults BELOW 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
VietnameseResults BELOW 4 ppb Notification Letter to Parents, Guardians and School Staff
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Alternate Labs to Use for Lead Testing

If you decide to use another lab besides the Health Department Lab, here is a list of nearby labs that offer Act 66 lead testing for schools and child care providers. We strongly recommend using one of the labs listed in this table. These labs are familiar with Act 66 requirements and will help ensure compliance and avoid errors. 

Lab NameAddressemailphone #
Endyne, Inc.160 James Brown Drive
Williston, VT 05495
EToomey@EndyneLabs.com802-879-4333
Endyne, Inc.56 Etna Road
Lebanon, NH 03766
EToomey@EndyneLabs.com802-879-4333
Eastern Analytical, Inc.51 Antrim Avenue 
Concord, NH 03301
CustomerService@EasternAnalytical.com800-287-0525 or
603-228-0525
Phoenix Environmental Labs587 Middle Turnpike
East Manchester, CT 06040
Makrina@PhoenixLabs.com860-645-1102
Absolute Resource Associates124 Heritage Ave, Unit 16
Portsmouth, NH 03801
AaronD@AbsoluteResourceAssociates.com603-436-2001

Search for more certified drinking water labs

More Information
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Lead in the Drinking Water of Homes
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Lead Hazards and Lead Poisoning
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How to Prevent Lead Poisoning for Parents and Caregivers
Contact Us

Lead in School and Child Care Drinking Water Program

Contact for Schools:

Phone: 802-863-7220 or 800-439-8550 (toll-free in Vermont)

Email: LeadSchool@vermont.gov

Contact for Child Care Providers:

Phone: 802-863-7220 or 800-439-8550 (toll-free in Vermont)

Email: LeadChildCare@vermont.gov

Last Updated: