Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care Programs

children at school holding hands

Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care Programs Drinking Water Grant

Authorized and funded under the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, SC’s Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care Programs grant provides free water lead testing to schools and child care programs across the state. Participation in this program is voluntary and includes the prioritization of schools and facilities located in the state's opportunity zones, schools and facilities that serve younger children (Pre-K, K-5), and schools and facilities that are older and more likely to contain lead plumbing.  

Many schools and child care facilities are served drinking water by a public water system. While these public water systems are required to be compliant with regulatory drinking water standards, many school and child care facilities have not had the water from their faucets sampled specifically for lead that can enter drinking water if a facility’s plumbing system has lead-containing components or pipes. This grant allows DHEC to test water from a school’s or child care provider’s faucets for lead at no cost to the facility.

Program Process

  1. Enroll in the program via the Online Facility Survey
  2. Participate in a virtual facility walkthrough to determine drinking water consumption locations within the facility
  3. Visit by a professional water operator to site to collect water samples
  4. Analysis of samples by the DHEC Lab
  5. Receive sampling results and communications packet

Questions about this program can be directed to: Caleb Snelling, WIIN Grant Project Manager, at Desk: 803-898-4432 or Cell: 803-605-1538 or snellica@dhec.sc.gov.

Online Facility Survey

DHEC has developed an interactive tool to allow schools and child care facilities to enroll in the program. The tool also includes a geographic map that showcases WIIN Grant lead data results as they become available. 

Sample Results

The EPA determined program lead remediation level in drinking water samples is 0.015 milligrams per liter (mg/L), or 15 parts per billion (ppb). When a lead sample is detected at or above this level, we encourage schools and facilities to take immediate steps to address the source of lead to protect children and staff.

As sample results become available, the WIIN Grant Sample Results page will be updated. 

EPA's 3Ts Guidance

EPA's 3Ts - Training, Testing, and Taking Action - provides tools for schools, child care facilities, states, and water systems to implement voluntary testing programs for lead in drinking water.

DHEC is using EPA’s 3Ts guidance as a model to: (1) Train on the risks of lead in drinking water and testing for lead, as well as developing key partnerships to support the program; (2) Test using appropriate testing protocols and a certified laboratory; and (3) Take Action, including the development of a plan for responding to results of testing conducted and addressing potential elevated lead where necessary. 

Additional Resources on EPA's 3Ts:

DHEC Resources

Other Resources