In Rhode Island, neither school nor daycare center drinking water has been found to be the primary cause of elevated blood lead levels, but it can contribute. Most schools and daycare centers are on municipal water systems that treat water to reduce the possibility of lead getting into the water. Some schools have tested their municipal water according to national guidelines, which recommend action be taken to remove the lead if the concentration is more than 20 parts per billion (ppb). more Other schools and daycare centers, usually in more rural areas, have their own water systems and are directly regulated by the Department of Health. These smaller systems require action to be taken if the lead at the tap has a concentration of more than 15 parts per billion in more than 10% of samples. The Department of Health recommends that any tap found to have lead found at any level should be monitored and if lead is found above 15 ppb, schools are strongly recommended to take actions.
The data shown here include results from a statewide assessment using a consistent method to test, and results from independent school district efforts. Some of these schools tested water over the summer when water sat in the pipes for a long time and the lead concentrations are likely higher than during the school year when the water is used frequently. It is recommended that taps get retested using the same methods of the statewide assessment and that action should be taken where results show lead contamination.
All daycare centers must certify that their drinking water is lead-safe before they can be licensed by the Department of Children, Youth and Families. These results are not presented here.