School Water Lead Testing Program Finds No Heightened Levels Of Lead In Drinking Water

Oct 1, 2018

The Louisiana Department of Health recently completed testing water at 12 elementary schools and found no heightened levels of lead in the drinking water. 

The testing was part of a pilot program conducted in accordance with Act 632 of the 2018 State Legislature. The tests were designed to determine if older schools with aging pipes and fixtures had lead present in drinking water. All 12 elementary schools that participated in the pilot program were constructed prior to 1986. 

Dr. Jimmy Guidry, state health officer, led the team that conducted the sampling and testing and said he was pleased by the results.

“Many Louisiana communities have water systems with aging infrastructure as well as older homes. Both situations make it more likely to find lead in water due to old plumbing. When we designed this program, we fully expected to find some instance of elevated lead because we purposefully selected schools that had older pipes and plumbing. The fact that we did not find any instances of elevated lead in the drinking water of these 12 schools is extremely encouraging.”

The Department worked with local school districts and school superintendents to find schools that met the testing criteria. Schools that have not had plumbing upgrades since 1986 were selected for testing. 
 These are the schools where drinking water was tested: 

  • Bernard Terrace Elementary School, Baton Rouge
  • Barkdull Faulk Elementary School, Monroe
  • Bayou Blue Elementary School, Houma
  • Cherokee Elementary School, Alexandria
  • Covington Elementary School, Covington
  • Creswell Elementary School, Shreveport
  • Drew Elementary School, West Monroe
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy of Global Studies, New Orleans
  • Harahan Elementary School, Harahan
  • Loranger Elementary School, Loranger
  • Prairie Elementary School, Lafayette
  • Prien Lake Elementary School, Lake Charles

The Testing Process

Drinking water staff from the Department of Health began drawing water samples from the schools over the past two weeks. Samples were taken from several locations, including sources before drinking water enters the school and also from taps within the school, allowing officials to determine if the lead is coming from the water source, the plumbing fixtures or the plumbing inside the school.

The samples were analyzed for lead at the Department’s laboratory in Baton Rouge. The full results, along with frequently asked questions are available on the Department’s website, www.ldh.la.gov/schooldrinkingwater