Lead is a naturally occurring element and, while it has some beneficial uses, is a toxic metal that has been shown to cause serious injury when it builds up in the body. One important source of exposure to lead comes from lead in drinking water which, in most cases, can be traced to lead containing service lines, faucets, and plumbing fixtures found mostly in older buildings and homes. If the water supply to a building or home passes through lead pipes, the lead can enter into the drinking water prior to consumption. 

RHP professionals perform lead in water testing for a variety of businesses including daycares, schools, residential homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities following guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). If lead is detected within the water system, RHP can assist with development and implementation of a mitigation action plan to minimize exposures and return water to below regulatory lead levels.

Health Effects of Lead Exposure and Poisoning

Primary routes of exposure to lead are inhalation and ingestion. If inhaled or ingested, lead can be distributed throughout the body and bioaccumulate in bones along with calcium. The most common lead exposure routes and cause of lead poisoning is dust from lead-based paint. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree that there is no known safe level of lead in a child’s blood. Public health actions need to be initiated when the level of lead in a child’s blood is 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) or more. Lead poisoning is harmful to children and adults; however, children and pregnant women are more vulnerable to lead because health problems can arise at lower exposure levels. Some health problems associated with lead include behavior and learning problems, anemia, and brain damage.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was established to protect public health by regulating the nation’s public drinking water supply. National health-based standards for drinking water are set forth by the EPA to protect from naturally-occurring and manmade contaminants that could be found in drinking water. In addition, the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) was created to control lead and copper in drinking water. It requires systems to monitor drinking water at customer taps. The action level for lead concentrations was to not exceed 15 ppb. The EPA is revising the LCR to reduce lead exposure in drinking water where it is needed the most. The revision includes changing the action level to 10 ppb.

Water Quality Testing and Consulting in Compliance with Local, State and Federal Regulations

Determining exactly where lead is located within a plumbing system can be difficult. Lead in water testing is an essential tool in identifying locations where lead plumbing is found within a home or commercial space and can allow for proper mitigation to reduce the amount of lead within the water and minimize exposure.

RHP Risk Management routinely coordinates and conducts lead in water testing for a variety of businesses including daycares, schools, residential homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities by identifying which fixtures need to be sampled and collecting water samples from various fixtures throughout the building. Once the water samples are collected onsite, they are taken to an Illinois EPA (IEPA) accredited laboratory which will analyze the water samples for any detectable amounts of lead.

Following receipt of the results, RHP will provide a summary of the lead in water sampling procedure, sampling results, and relevant recommendations including whether a mitigation plan is necessary. 

Lead in Water Testing for Schools and Daycares per Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Requirements

To protect Illinois children from possible exposure to lead in drinking water, the Illinois Public Act (99-0922) requires schools occupied by more than 10 children or students, pre-kindergarten through grade 5, to sample for lead contamination in water. The Act requires schools built between January 2, 1987 and January 1, 2000 to have lead in water testing within their facility completed by the end of 2018. Samples that are collected need to be submitted to an ILEPA-accredited laboratory for lead analysis to determine what amount of lead, if any, is found within the drinking water sources.

Lead in water testing results for schools (pre-kindergarten through grade 5, need to be below 5 ppb. If the results exceed 5 ppb, there should be notification of the sampling results to the parents or legal guardians of all enrolled students. 

The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) require all licensed day cares serving children under 6 in a building built before January 1, 2000 to sample all cooking and drinking water sources for lead. Results at or above 2.01 ppb will need a mitigation plan until two consecutive tests show lead levels are below 2.01 ppb. More information on daycare requirements and lead in water testing services can be found on our Lead Testing for Daycares & Childcare Centers in Illinois page

Who We Help

In addition to conducting lead in water testing for schools and daycares, RHP Risk Management also provides lead in water testing for residential homes, commercial properties, and industrial facilities. If there are concerns with the plumbing configuration and materials (faucets, service lines) identified within older buildings, RHP can conduct site and source specific lead in water testing to determine the location and concentration of lead within the water. The results will indicate which pipes or fixtures, if any, contain lead and determine if there is a need for mitigation.

Contact Us About Drinking Water Lead Inspections Today

RHP professionals and certified lead risk assessors have years of experience identifying possible sources of lead in water and collecting water samples from various fixtures within schools, daycares, homes, commercial spaces, and industrial facilities. Identifying the sources of lead can efficiently prompt mitigation actions to protect the safety and health of people occupying those spaces. Contact RHP Risk Management for questions regarding our lead in water testing services

Related RHP Authored Documents

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Lead in Drinking Water: Should You Be Worried?

Ben Heckman, MPH, CIH

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Lead Accumulation in Stagnant Water During COVID-19: Lead Risk Elevated During Prolonged Building Closures and Abrupt Re-occupancy

Jackie Coreno / Luke Nienhaus, CIH

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DCFS Policy Document

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FAQ Sheet by DCFS

Scientific risk-based guidance and solutions you and your company can trust.

RHP Risk Management is a leader in the field of Industrial Hygiene, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Built Environment, Risk Management, Dose Estimation & Analysis, and Exposure Simulation Testing. Our highly trained and sophisticated team of professionals work together seamlessly on small and large projects. Our roster includes certified industrial hygienists, public health scientists, risk assessors, certified safety professionals, field staff, an engineer, an anthropologist, an economist, certified paralegals, and support staff.

We work with our clients to develop solutions to their most pressing concerns. Understanding exposures and risks through a grounding in a sound, defensible, state- of- the- art scientific approach gives our clients peace of mind. Empowered by a comprehensive understanding of exposures we can provide, clients are better equipped to recognize previously unseen business risks, manage known risks, target areas for control systems, comply with regulations, and to be braced for regulatory or litigation actions. Senior staff have served as experts in front of stakeholders, public, workers, regulatory, and State and Federal courts.