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 2017, legislation was passed requiring public school districts and charter schools to test for the presence of lead in water. The legislation went into effect on July 1, 2018. 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 model plan is intended for use by all public school districts and charter schools in Minnesota. A model plan is required for public schools and charter schools per legislation but also appropriate for other types of buildings such as, other types of schools, businesses, childcare facilities, etc.
The toolkit provides resources available to those who are educating and communicating about lead in drinking water.
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
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
For many years, MDH has worked with H2O for Life on a poster contest focusing on the importance of clean drinking water. Students in kindergarten-12th grade design posters incorporating a drinking water theme. Prizes and special recognition of winning posters are awarded at the conclusion of the contest.
2020-2021 H20 for Life school poster contest
MDH and H2O for Life have decided to put the contest on hold for this upcoming school year. Given the current uncertainty about learning circumstances, it seems best, although MDH and H2O for Life will continue to support interested schools and teachers with resources that can be utilized in both the classroom and distance learning environment. Details for future contests will be on H2O for Life website when they are available. Feel free to reach out to H2O for Life for more information.
H2O for Life
1310 Highway 96 East, #235
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Phone: 651-756-7577 (Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Central Time) email@example.com
- Reducing Children’s Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water (PDF)
- Let It Run . . . and Get the Lead Out
- Healthy Sustainable Schools: Guide for change, MPCA (PDF)
- Water efficiency
- Home Water Treatment
- Home Water Treatment (PDF)
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