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Lead in Drinking Water

Educating the public about lead toxicity and reducing exposure in drinking water.

Lead is a naturally occurring element that can be found in small amounts in the earth. However, it rarely occurs naturally in New Hampshire’s drinking water sources, namely groundwater and surface water. Lead more commonly occurs in drinking water due to the wearing away of piping, older plumbing fixtures, or the solder that connects pipes. Tap water is generally thought to be a smaller source of lead exposure, but this can vary among homes, schools, and other buildings, and can add to other sources such as paint.

Lead can be poisonous to humans and animals, causing health problems from high blood pressure to nervous system disorders. Children under the age of 6, including unborn babies and infants, are the most at risk because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults’ bodies and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to its damaging effects. Studies continue to demonstrate that even low blood lead levels negatively impact cognitive abilities, speech and language development, hearing, visual-spatial skills, attention, emotional regulation and motor skills. Past uses of lead have contributed significant amounts of lead to our environment that cause over 1,000 New Hampshire children to be poisoned every year.


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Lead in Drinking Water at NH Schools and Child Care Centers 

On February 8, 2018, Governor Sununu signed Senate Bill 247 Prevention of Childhood Lead Poisoning. This law requires, among other actions, that all public and private schools and licensed childcare facilities test lead in drinking water at all locations where water is available for consumption by children. As of April 2021, drinking water samples have been collected from approximately 600 public and private schools and 500 childcare facilities across the state of New Hampshire, for a total of approximately 23,000 samples. Download Lead in Drinking Water at NH Schools and Child Care Facilities.

Learn More About SB247  

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SB247 NHDOE Grant 

To support the lead remediation efforts in New Hampshire schools under Senate Bill 247, the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE) secured a grant totaling $1,600,000 from the New Hampshire Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund (DWGTF). This grant program is available to reimburse public and non-public schools in the state for 50% of the total lead remediation costs, where needed and as shown through testing. NHDES provides grant guidance and a sample affidavit.  

Grant Application Forms  

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SB247 sample reporting 

In conformance with SB247, if test results demonstrate the presence of lead exceeding 15 ppb (0.015 mg/L), the school or licensed childcare facility shall, within 5 business days, notify parents and guardians. The NHDES is encouraging all schools and licensed childcare facilities to report all their results to parents, as well as NHDES. The analyzing laboratory can upload your results to NHDES upon request. The Activity (Sample) Import Lite Template for Lead Sampling Imports form can be used to submit results.

Upload Guidance  

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Did you know?

Did you know?

As of April 9, 2018, Pediatric Blood Lead Level (BLL) Testing of all 1- and 2-year-old children is required by law in New Hampshire. Find out more about BLL results.  

Have You Tested Your Water Quality?

Whether you are on a private well or a municipal water source, the only way to know if you have lead or any other contaminants in your water is to test.

Program Manager - Lead in Schools and Childcare Facilities
Section Manager