Georgia to test 800 schools for lead in drinking water

Credit: jasongillman /

Credit: jasongillman /

ATLANTA — Georgia is moving forward with plans to test for lead in drinking water at schools and child care facilities.

The state Board of Education on Thursday approved hiring Research Triangle Institute for $980,000 to perform the tests using a federal grant.

The plan is to test every source of drinking water in 800 schools statewide, with an estimated 40 faucets in each school. Preliminary estimates forecast that the tests will find problematic levels of lead in 2.5% of the 32,000 faucets statewide, requiring retesting.

The state says testing will prioritize facilities serving children ages 6 and younger, those that are older, and those that are in underserved and low-income communities. A school or district would be responsible for fixing any problems.

Testing had originally been planned to start sooner but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, said Georgia Department of Education spokesperson Matt Cardoza. Testing is now likely to begin early next year. The grant runs through 2023.