The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is making the following recommendations for those schools returning to in-person learning following remote operation during the first semester, from the winter or spring breaks, after summer vacation, or any other time a building has been vacated and persons return to the building. As buildings are vacated or unoccupied, drinking water is often left to sit stagnant in the building’s plumbing system. This may cause increased concentrations of metals, such as lead or copper, in the building’s drinking water and may promote the growth of harmful pathogens, such as Legionella, within a building’s plumbing system.
Public Act 099-0922 took effect Jan. 17, 2017, and required all Illinois schools constructed on or before Jan. 1, 2000, to test all “sources of potable water” for lead and submit the results to IDPH by Dec. 31, 2018. This Act also directed IDPH to determine if it is necessary and appropriate, to protect public health, to require schools constructed in whole or in part after Jan. 1, 2000, to conduct testing for lead from sources of potable water.

With this in mind, IDPH is providing a memorandum with recommendations for all schools constructed in whole or in part before Jan. 4, 2014, to sample “all sources of potable water” (225 ILCS 320/35.5) for lead in water and providing other IDPH recommendations to improve water quality at Illinois’ schools. For further questions, please contact IDPH, Plumbing and Water Quality Program, Division of Environmental Health at (217) 524-0791, or visit the IDPH website.

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