Health and Safety Tips

  • Lead in Drinking Water

    Did you know that South St. Paul Schools tests drinking water in every building for lead every five years? The Minnesota Legislature passed a law requiring schools to do this in 2017, but we have been doing it since the late 1980s.

    If lead from a water source is found to be over the EPA’s recommended guideline, the district either takes that fixture out of service or replaces it, and then retests that source to verify that replacing it lowered the lead below the guideline. Some fixtures are not meant for drinking water, like bathroom sinks, custodial slop sinks, lab sinks, or hose connections, so those are not routinely tested. Please make sure that you only take water for drinking from water fountains, breakroom sinks, elementary classroom sinks, or other fixtures that are clearly meant for drinking water.

    Staff and students probably consume more water at home than at school. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has excellent resources for educating yourself and testing your home. A few great tips are:

    • Let your water run for a minute before using it for drinking or cooking. Lead frequently comes from fixtures, and running water through the fixture flushes out lead that has accumulated, especially if the fixture hasn’t be used that day.

    • Use cold water for drinking and cooking. Hot water leaches more lead from pipes and fixtures, and hot water flows through your water heater, which is extra plumbing for it to pass through. If you need hot water for hot drinks or cooking, put cold water into a pan or cup and heat it up with your stove or microwave.

    • Test your water. Lead testing kits can be purchased at stores like Home Depot or Lowes for $10-$20. Fill the bottle, place it in the included shipping container, and send it in. Easy! The kits include information on what levels are considered high or low, and some include suggestions on what to do if your results are high. You can also use a local lab, but they will be much more expensive, and won’t give you better information than a mail-in kit will give you.

    For more information from MDH, visit their website here.