Lead in School Drinking Water

To address the concerns about lead in drinking water, and to reduce children's overall exposure to lead in the environment, in 2021, the Legislature passed, and governor signed Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill (E2SHB) 1139. In passing the bill, the Legislature follows the advice of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency that there is no known safe level of lead in a child's blood. Even low levels of lead exposure can cause permanent cognitive, academic, and behavioral difficulties in children.

E2SHB 1139, now Chapters 43.70.830, 43.70.83543.70.84043.70.84528A.210.410 RCW (PDF) requires that drinking water outlets in school buildings built, or with all plumbing replaced, before 2016 be tested for the presence and level of lead contamination by June 30, 2026, and every five years thereafter. In addition, schools must notify community of lead test results and develop action plans for remediation if test results exceed the health-based standard of five parts per billion.

This placed requirements on the Department of Health (DOH), Schools, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to help reduce lead exposure.

We will update these web pages as implementation continues.