Safe Water at School
In 2022, the Missouri legislature passed the Get the Lead out of School Drinking Water Act (RSMo 160.077), which sets standards for lead concentrations in school drinking water. The law requires schools to conduct inventory, sampling, remediation and monitoring at all potable drinking water outlets used or potentially being used for drinking, food preparation and cooking or cleaning utensils. The deadline under the law is August 1, 2024, but the Rockwood School District completed an inventory and testing of all water sources between July and October of 2023.
Under the law, results are communicated directly with families within seven days of receipt. Results are also required to be posted on the district website and reported to the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). DHSS is currently developing reporting methods and procedures.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently has a lead drinking water standard limit of 15 parts per billion (ppb) of lead in water. However, Missouri law has established an action level of five parts per billion (5 ppb) for Missouri schools, which is equal to five micrograms per liter.
Lead is a toxic metal that is persistent in the environment and can accumulate in the body over time. Risk will vary depending on the individual, the chemical conditions of the water, and the amount consumed. For example, infants who drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated tap water may be at a higher risk of exposure because of the large volume of water they consume relative to their body size. Bathing and showering should be safe for you and your children because human skin does not absorb lead in water.