Elevated water lead levels in schools using water from on-site wells

Scott Latham, Jennifer L. Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Only 8% of US public schools operate their own community water systems, and thus are subject to the federal Lead and Copper Rule’s regulation of water lead levels (WLLs). To date, the absence of parallel water testing data for all other schools has prevented the comparison of WLLs with schools that do not face federal regulation. This study compiled and analyzed newly available school-level WLL data that included water source (on-site well water or public utility) and pipe material data for public schools in New York State located outside of New York City. Despite direct federal regulation, schools that used water from on-site wells had a substantially higher percentage of water fixtures with elevated WLLs. Schools that used both on-site well water and iron pipes in their water distribution system had the highest percentage of elevated fixtures. Variation in water treatment practices was identified as a potential contributing mechanism, as schools that used on-site well water were less likely to implement corrosion control. The study concluded that information about water source and premise plumbing material may be useful to policymakers targeting schools for testing and remediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1425-1435
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Water and Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


  • corrosion control
  • on-site school well water
  • public water systems
  • school drinking water
  • water lead levels


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