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How to test for lead

Legal Requirement

As of 2018 Minnesota State required all public schools to start testing their drinking sources for lead every 5 years.


Now in 2023 they have included Child Care Centers to do the same. Each water source used for consumption (drinking or cooking) needs to have <5ppb of lead. Report back to their community and the Minnesota Department of Health with their results. More information about the law can be found below. 

Health Impacts on Children

Babies and children under 6 are the most at risk for serious health problems when exposed to lead. Exposure can cause damage the brain, kidneys,  nervous system, affect cognitive development. 

Step 1: Planning Phase

Before you can head over to a laboratory to get the ball rolling you'll need to think through who you're going to test with, where you'll test, and when. 




Who: You'll need to find a laboratory that is certified to test for lead in drinking water (guess what, that's us!). Make sure you also get sample bottles from whoever you go with.

Where: You'll need to test any fixture that could be commonly used for drinking or food preparation. (Drinking fountains, kitchen sinks, nursery kitchenettes, etc.)

When: In order to properly test you'll need to sample at first draw of the day. This means before anyone has turned on any fixtures. Ideally you'll be able to sample either early in the morning or a Saturday.

Click below to find a checklist of all the steps through this processes. 

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Step 2: Sampling Phase

Once you have a good plan of all the places you'll need to sample from you can get started! 

The sampling process is very simple. You will go to each fixture and immediately fill the bottle up to the fill mark with cold water. Once you've done that it's just marking the bottle and paperwork with the necessary information. 

If you would feel more comfortable being a bit more hands-off we also offer collection services so all you need to do is let us into the building and we'll do the rest!

Please see resources below for sampling instructions, paper work that needs to be filled out along with an example. 

Step 3: Reporting &
Notification Phase

Once you've received your lab report there are a few steps to finish up the processes. 


If you have any fixtures that tested high you'll need to remedy it and resample to prove your remediation actions were effective (don't worry we'll walk you through this if it comes up). 


Notification to parents and staff: Once you receive your report you'll have 30 days to notify staff and parents that you testesd the drinking water and the results are available to them upon request. You can notify them via email, newsletter, bulletin board or whatever works best for your company. 



Reporting: You will need to report the findings to the Minnesota Department of Health. At this time, MDH has not yet said how they would like to receive this information but we'll keep our ear to the ground and update you once we know more.  

Water testing plan: You'll also need to implement 

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"I really appreciate the kindness and support with this new legislation! As a small business owner I feel so partnered with."

Jennifer - Willow & Sprout. Minneapolis, MN

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