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Lead Contamination in Drinking Water

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What you should know

Lead in drinking water can cause lead exposure and lifelong health problems. Drinking water is rarely the primary cause of lead exposure in Rhode Island. Children are most often exposed to lead through lead-based paint and paint dust found in a home, especially if it was built before 1978. 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. Read more about the project.

What do the test results mean?

Lead is measured in water in parts per billion (ppb). Depending on the results, there are actions that schools can take to lower lead levels in the water or keep them low.

  • Any sample result that is higher than 15 ppb is above the action level set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Schools are strongly recommended to take action to lower the lead level. Note: The EPA has proposed lowering the action level to 10 ppb. Schools may choose to take action based on this level.
  • Any sample result between 1 and 15 ppb is below the EPA’s action level. There are suggested actions schools can take to lower lead in the drinking water.
  • Any sample result that is less than 1 ppb is below the detection level for lead. The detection level is the lowest level of lead that can be reliably measured in water.
  • Contact your school for information on what action level they are using and what actions they are taking in response to these results.

As part of the study, multiple samples were taken at each location. These samples are labeled first draw and second draw in the “Type” column.

How samples were collected and tested

The data shown here are from a statewide assessment using a consistent method to test. For more information on how samples were collected and tested, visit the Lead in Schools 2023 page, or contact your school. Contact your school for additional information, such as other testing efforts or samples taken as part of remediation efforts.

Middletown Results