Arizona's Proactive Public School District Drinking Water Lead Screening Program

ADEQ is committed to the health of Arizona’s children and safe drinking water in schools. ADEQ is coordinating with multiple state and local agencies, public water systems and public schools to proactively conduct a statewide screening program for the presence of lead in school drinking water.

The purpose of this proactive school drinking water screening program is to identify whether school drinking water contains lead levels of concern for children’s health, so that school districts can take appropriate actions to address any identified concerns. 

ADEQ is funding this six-month, fast-track screening program in an effort to collect and test 14,000 drinking water samples from  7,000 school buildings statewide | View Program Initial Scope >

To ensure maximum reach for the screening program and overall success, it is critical that participating schools join the sampling team and collect drinking water samples. Collecting school drinking water samples for lead screening is simple. ADEQ will provide all samplers with a toolkit including sample instructions, collection containers and prepaid shipping boxes to mail the samples to contracted laboratories for testing at no cost  to schools.

The Concern

Lead contamination may be present in school drinking water even when a school’s water provider is in compliance with the federal lead drinking water standard of 15 parts of lead per billion parts of water (15 ppb). School drinking water may become contaminated as water moves through a school’s plumbing system where lead from materials and fixtures, such as water fountains, faucets and water heaters, may leach into the water. The risk of lead leaching increases with intermittent water use (e.g., schools often are closed on weekends and have several extended school breaks throughout the year when water lines are not being flushed).

In Arizona, the most commonly known sources of lead include lead-based paint in older homes, some household products including antique or imported toys, antique furniture, imported spices and candies, “home remedies” and lead-glazed pottery used for cooking. While drinking water is not considered to be a common source of lead in Arizona, eliminating exposure to lead in drinking water is an important step in reducing a child’s overall exposure to lead in the environment.  | View Most Commonly Known Sources of Lead >

Learn more about childhood lead exposure and health | View >
Public School Drinking Water Lead Screening Program Fact Sheet | View | En español >
Public School Drinking Water Lead Screening Program Process | View | En español >
Sampling Plan & Collection Log | View | En español >