Choose Safe Places: Water Lead Testing


How Does my School or Child Care Center Get Started?

An employee from any type of school or child care center which serves children, may request a free drinking water lead testing kit, by contacting the Tennessee Department of Health's Laboratory Services by phone at (615) 262-6300 or by email at  

Proper Sample Collection for Lead Analysis in Drinking Water

The Tennessee Department of Health Laboratory Services has a video to walk you through proper procedures for collecting water samples for lead analysis.

Free Drinking Water Lead Testing for Schools and Child Care Centers

The State of Tennessee is committed to helping all children get off to a healthy start. To support this goal, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) is offering water lead testing to all schools, Head Start or Early Head Start facilities, and Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) licensed child care centers at no cost.  This opportunity is completely voluntary for any Head Start or Early Head Start facilities and TDHS-licensed child care centers who would like to have their water tested.

Why Should my School or Child Care Center Participate?

Infants and young children are especially sensitive to lead exposure. Water can be a source of lead exposure, especially in buildings with older plumbing. Lead can enter drinking water through plumbing materials that contain lead. Testing water in child care facilities is important because children spend a significant portion of their days in these facilities and likely consume water while there.

The State of Tennessee strongly encourages Head Start or Early Head Start facilities and TDHS-licensed child care facilities to take advantage of this free opportunity to test the water for lead – particularly if food, drinks, or formula are prepared on-site.

How Will the Testing Work?

It's easy!  Fill your bottles and return your samples.  Participating schools and child care centers will be provided a drinking water lead testing kit with bottles, instructions, and pre-paid return shipping labels.   The State Laboratoy will test the water and provide results.  We cover the cost and answer your questions.

What if Lead is Found in the Water?

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) will provide technical assistance to facilities for responding to test results and addressing elevated lead levels when necessary. Through its mini-grants program, the TDHS may assist its licensed agencies in addressing sources of lead exposure, if needed.

More information on lead and reducing lead in drinking water can be found in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 3Ts guidance document. 

3Ts for Establishing a Lead in Drinking Water Program