On July 13, 2016, the State Board of Education adopted regulations regarding the testing for lead in drinking water in public schools throughout New Jersey. The regulations were filed with the Office of Administrative Law and became effective on July 13, 2016.
Overview of Regulations
The regulations require testing for lead in all outlets where water may be consumed within 365 days of the effective date of the regulations. All covered entities were directed to develop a lead sampling plan that governed the collection and analysis of drinking water samples.
Samples are required to be sent to a certified testing laboratory for analysis. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) provides a complete list of certified testing laboratories.
Covered entities include:
- All New Jersey public school districts;
- Charter schools;
- Renaissance school projects;
- Jointure commissions;
- Educational services commissions;
- Approved private schools for students with disabilities acting under contract to provide educational services on behalf of New Jersey public school districts;
- State-funded early childcare facilities pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:13A (contracted child care and Head Start programs); and
- Receiving schools as defined by N.J.A.C. 6A:14-7.1(a).
Access to District-Specific Information
The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has established a database providing community members summary water quality information for New Jersey covered entities in the NJDOE's Safe Drinking Water regulations. That database may be found by selecting the “Summaries of Test Results” button from the menu above.
Every covered entity must make all test results available at the school facility and on the covered entity's website. Because covered entities must confirm this notification on an annual basis through the Statement of Assurance, the lead test results should not be removed from the website, unless and until there are new lead test results to post.
The regulations also require notification to the NJDOE, as well as to parents, in any instance in which the results exceed the permissible lead action level (15 ppb). The notification should describe the steps taken to immediately end the use of each drinking water outlet where water quality exceeds the permissible level, as well as measures taken to ensure that alternate drinking water has been made available to all students and staff.
Guidance and Resources
To assist covered entities in their continuing efforts to remain in compliance with regulations, the NJDOE directs districts to guidance material developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Submitting a Statement of Assurance
State regulations (N.J.A.C. 6A:26-12.4(g)) require covered entities to annually submit a Statement of Assurance to the NJDOE, signifying their compliance with the requirements for lead testing of drinking water. The regulations state:
“All district boards of education (covered entities) shall submit to the Department on an annual basis a statement of assurance that lead testing was completed in accordance with these rules, that notifications were provided consistent with this subchapter, and alternate drinking water continues to be made available to all students and staff.”