NJ Schools Not Using Water Fountains May Be Exempt from Mandatory 2022 Lead Testing

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Has your school district shut off drinking fountains due to COVID-19 restrictions? If so, you may be able to apply for an exemption to mandatory lead testing which is due by June 30, 2022.

Here is what you need to know about the required testing:

  • In 2016, New Jersey passed regulations requiring testing for lead in all school drinking water outlets within one year, then every six years thereafter.
  • In 2019, the State tightened those regulations and began requiring testing every three years.
  • New testing is now required to be completed no later than June 30th of the 2021-2022 school year, then every three years after that. This means your next test should be due by June 30, 2022, and your school still needs to test/retest, even if you tested when the 2016 law passed.

What has changed?

While the law remains in effect, school districts can apply for a district wide exemption if they can demonstrate that they do not use any drinking water outlets for consumption or food prep in any of their facilities.  In other words, as long as all of the outlets are out of service, you should qualify.

Follow the link below to read the details and find out how to apply for an exemption link.

 A few things to expect on the application:

  • Per the requirements, you must describe how you are making an alternative source of drinking water available. 
  • The DOE recommends placing signs at all outlets that are not in service and will not be tested.  You must provide an explanation if you do not have signs at all outlets.
  • The DOE requires you to keep confirmation that you have been exempted from testing on file and post it on the district website.

What if you want to turn your fountains back on?

If you decide to turn your drinking outlets back on and into service, you will have to submit testing on them.  You will also need to complete the required plans (Sampling Plan, Plumbing Profiles, QAPP).  Any outlets that remain out of service would need to be documented in the sampling plan and would not need to be tested at that point.  

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