Drinking Water in Schools
How the Minnesota Department of Health is involved:
for Educators and School Professionals
- Protecting drinking water quality in schools.
- Educating teachers, parents, and students about drinking water.
For School Professionals Managing School Water
Reducing Lead in School Drinking Water
In addition to its regulatory efforts to protect the water supplied by all of Minnesota’s public water systems, the Minnesota Department of Health has a program that focuses specifically on lead in school drinking water.
In 2017, legislation was passed requiring school districts and charter schools to test for the presence of lead in water. For guidance, please reference:
This statute is in addition to any other authorized testing requirements for public school districts and charter schools. It requires schools to adopt a plan to accurately and efficiently test for lead in public school buildings serving students from prekindergarten through grade 12.
By July 1, 2018 public school districts and charter schools must:
- Adopt the model plan developed by MDH and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) or develop and adopt an alternative plan.
- Include a testing schedule for all buildings serving prekindergarten students and students in kindergarten through grade 12. Each drinking water tap or water source used in food preparation must be tested at minimum once every five years. Testing must begin by July 1, 2018, and complete testing of all buildings that serve students must be within five years.
- Make the test results available to the public to review and notify the parents of the availability of the information.
The manual is intended for use by all public school districts and charter schools in Minnesota.
The toolkit provides resources available to those who are educating and communicating about lead in drinking water.
Frequently asked questions about the new legislation and its effect on schools.
Resources for Meeting State Drinking Water Standards and Requirements
Guidance for managing water in facilities that serve at least 25 of the same people over six months of the year.
Drinking Water Education
Educational Module for Students
An interactive module to learn about water.
Training for Educators
The Minnesota Department of Health works cooperatively with the Minnesota Section of American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Hamline University Center for Global Environmental Education in staging drinking water Institutes for Minnesota school teachers.
Teachers learn about drinking water, along with ways to develop the subject into inquiry-based curriculum, at these Institutes. They also have the opportunity to write curriculum to take back to their classrooms. The aim of these Institutes is to produce high school graduates who are familiar with drinking water topics.
Annual Drinking Water Poster Contest
Each year the Minnesota Department of Health works with H2O for Life and other partners on a poster contest revolving around a drinking-water theme in schools. Funded by grants from the participating organizations, a bottle filling station is awarded to the school of the first place winners.
The 2018 theme is Keep It Out . . . of Your Water Spout. Students can design a poster about what’s in our water and recommended local actions.
- Reducing Children’s Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water (PDF)
- Let It Run . . . and Get the Lead Out
- Point-of-Use Water Treatment Units for Lead Reduction
- Healthy Sustainable Schools: Guide for change, MPCA (PDF)
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