In 2023, the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), the University of Rhode Island (URI) Cooperative Extension Water Quality Program, and the Rhode Island Department of Health collaborated to develop a voluntary, statewide program to test the drinking water in K-12 schools for lead. The results of that testing will be uploaded here when available. If you don’t see your school here, check back periodically.
The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) addresses, supports, and improves America's drinking water infrastructure. Federal grant funds from the WIIN Act have been used to develop a program to test drinking water for lead at Rhode Island schools.
Lead does not naturally occur in water. Most lead in water comes from metal wearing away in old pipes, lead-based solder, or brass fittings on faucets or water fountains.
Lead in drinking water can cause lead exposure and lifelong health problems. The effects are most serious for babies, young children, and people who are pregnant.
The only way to know if there is lead in drinking water is to test for it. If lead was found in any water sample, take appropriate actions based on the results.
Samples of drinking water from multiple water faucets and fountains in participating schools throughout Rhode Island were tested for lead.
In 2016-2017, drinking water from multiple water faucets and fountains in schools and daycare facilities throughout Rhode Island were tested for lead. Those results can be found here.
To get a better understanding of lead in school drinking water, the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension (URI) was hired to provide guidance to school staff collecting samples at facilities around the state.
School staff took the samples of drinking water that were tested for lead with the assistance of the URI. First, school staff used guidance to identify water fountains and taps that are used for drinking or cooking. Then staff followed instructions to collect the water samples using test kits delivered by URI. Samples were transported to the State Health Laboratory for analysis at no cost to the school district.