Solid Science Practical Solutions


Lead in Drinking Water Fall Update

Concerned parents and staff may already be asking:  Are we there yet?


Some Districts are already looking at their lead in drinking water program in the rear view mirror, while many are just starting the journey.  Most of the Districts we are speaking with are still in the early planning stages of fulfilling the new requirements for a mandated District-specific Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) and comprehensive sampling for lead in drinking water throughout their District.


All of this activity is the result of the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) regulations requiring testing of drinking water for lead in all New Jersey schools, (effective July 13, 2016) with a completion date of July 13, 2017. When the regulations were issued, the NJDOE said they would follow up with additional guidance from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).


In late summer, the NJDEP began posting technical guidelines on their website.  These guidelines have been presented in a series of training programs including one GSE attended on 9/26/16. We were glad to see many familiar faces, and wanted to send some follow up information to help in your planning.


  • There are detailed and time consuming preparations required prior to testing, which must all be recorded on NJDOE approved forms (available on the NJDEP website) including:
    • Completion of a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP)
    • A complete Plumbing Profile
    • A Drinking Water Outlet Inventory
    • A Lead in Drinking Water Sampling Plan
    • Assignment of internal and consultant tasks and schedules
  • Importantly, all buildings must be completely unoccupied for at least 8 hours before and during all testing.  This is to ensure that absolutely no water is used in any part of the interior or exterior of the building being tested.  This will require careful planning for testing.
  • There are specific reporting requirements including:
    • Notification to the school community and the NJDOE within 24 hours of receipt of any lab results above 15 PPB lead.  Such notification must include outlet-specific remedial actions taken in response to the elevated lead levels.
    • Maintenance of all forms from section 1 above in an organized fashion by key District representatives involved with the program.


DON'T PANIC - GSE's team of Industrial Hygienists, Environmental Consultants and Environmental Technicians has already assisted and is currently working with numerous school Districts throughout New Jersey in developing QAPPs, planning and implementing lead in drinking water testing and providing guidance on any needed remedial work in response to high lead levels.  We have the experience and resources to assist your District in complying with the NJDOE regulations.  Whether you use our services for sample collection and lab analysis only, or complete program planning, management and technical consulting, you will find our fees competitive and our services responsive, detail oriented and scientifically correct.