NEW LAW REQUIRES SCHOOLS BUILT BEFORE 2000 TO TEST DRINKING WATER FOR LEAD CONTAMINATION

By Jack Murphy

 

January 17, 2017

 On January 16, 2017, Governor Rauner signed Public Act 99-0922 into law, which requires schools servicing kindergarten through 5th grades and built before January 1, 2000 to test the school’s drinking water for lead contamination.  The water must be tested by a laboratory accredited by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the testing results must be provided to all parents and legal guardians through written or electronic communication. Samples returning results of lead contamination of greater than 5 parts per billion require individual electronic or written notice to parents/guardians of all enrolled students. Contamination of 5 parts per billion or less may be communicated individually or via the district’s website.

 The required sampling and analysis must be completed by December 31, 2017 for school buildings constructed prior to January 1, 1987; and by December 31, 2018 for school buildings constructed between January 1, 1987 and January 1, 2000. A school district may seek a waiver if it has appropriately tested its drinking water after January 1, 2013.

 The law provides that a school district may use its Fire Prevention and Safety Fund to pay for the costs of the laboratory testing as well as any costs affiliated with repairs to the drinking water supply.  Additionally, the new law permits school districts to transfer money from its Tort Fund to its Operations and Maintenance Fund subject to the hearing and notice requirements of Section 17-2A of the School Code.  Such transferred funds could then be used to pay for costs relating to the drinking water testing and any possible required repairs.

 If you have any questions about this new law and how it might affect your schools, please contact your Scariano, Himes and Petrarca attorney.