On July 13, 2016, the State Board of Education adopted regulations regarding the testing for lead in drinking water in public schools throughout New Jersey. The regulations were filed with the Office of Administrative Law and became effective on July 13, 2016.
Overview of Regulations
The regulations required testing for lead in all outlets where water may be consumed within 365 days of the effective date of the regulations. All covered entities were directed to develop a lead sampling plan that governed the collection and analysis of drinking water samples.
Samples are required to be sent to a certified testing laboratory for analysis. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) provides a complete list of certified testing laboratories.
Covered entities are:
- All New Jersey public school districts;
- Charter schools;
- Renaissance school projects;
- Jointure commissions;
- Educational services commissions;
- Approved private schools for students with disabilities acting under contract to provide educational services on behalf of New Jersey public school districts;
- State-funded early childcare facilities pursuant to J.A.C. 6A:13A (contracted child care and Head Start programs); and
- Receiving schools as defined by J.A.C. 6A:14-7.1(a).
Access to District-Specific Information
The Department has established a database providing community members summary water quality information in New Jersey covered entities in the Department’s Safe Drinking Water regulations. That database may be found by selecting the “Summaries of Test Results” button from the menu above.
Every covered entity must make all test results available at the school facility and on the covered entity's website. Because covered entities must confirm this notification on an annual basis through the Statement of Assurance, the lead test results should not be removed from the website, unless and until there are new lead test results to post.
The regulations also require notification to the NJDOE, as well as to parents, in any instance in which the results exceed the permissible lead action level (15 ppb). The notification should describe the steps taken to immediately end the use of each drinking water outlet where water quality exceeds the permissible level, as well as measures taken to ensure that alternate drinking water has been made available to all students and staff.
Guidance and Resources
To assist covered entities in their continuing efforts to remain in compliance with regulations, the NJDOE directs districts to guidance material developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Submitting a Statement of Assurance
State regulations (N.J.A.C. 6A:26-12.4(g)) require covered entities to annually submit a Statement of Assurance to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), signifying their compliance with the requirements for lead testing of drinking water. The regulations state:
“All district boards of education (covered entities) shall submit to the Department on an annual basis a statement of assurance that lead testing was completed in accordance with these rules, that notifications were provided consistent with this subchapter, and alternate drinking water continues to be made available to all students and staff.”
The NJDOE updated the Statement of Assurance to be completed for the 2019-20 school year. The statements of assurance are completed entirely online by June 30, 2020. Each covered entity will follow the appropriate SOA link. Since New Jersey regulations do not require covered entities to conduct lead testing every year and because some covered entities are exempt from lead testing pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:26-12.4(i), the Department has provided three (3) SOAs to address multiple scenarios, as indicated below:
- If your entity was not required to conduct lead testing during the 2019-20 school year, please complete the "Non-Lead Testing Year" SOA. This will be the most common scenario.
- If your entity is exempt from lead testing, please complete the "Exemption" SOA. This is applicable if the entity previously demonstrated that they do not use any drinking water outlets for consumption or food preparation in any of their facilities and was approved by the Department.
- If your entity conducted lead testing during the 2019-20 school year, please complete the "Lead Testing" SOA, which contains a checklist. Some examples for the use of this SOA and checklist would be the opening of a new facility or the use of a district facility that had previously been closed.
Lead Testing Statement of Assurance Submissions
This spreadsheet provides two pieces of information: the date the Department received the 2018-19 school year Statements of Assurance (SOAs) from public school districts, charter schools, renaissance schools, jointure commissions, educational services commissions, approved private schools for students with disabilities, and the date of the most recently conducted lead testing as reported by the district. For additional information, we would encourage community members to contact their school district. District contact information may be found in the Department’s School Directory here: https://homeroom5.doe.state.nj.us/directory/pub.php
The Department is continuing to collect the SOAs for 2018-19 and the list will be updated weekly.