The goal of the Clean Water for Georgia Kids™ Program is to identify and get the lead out of drinking and cooking water where children learn and play across Georgia. Our approach is for you to:
This program is a partnership between the nonprofit research institute RTI International and the Georgia Department of Education.
The program is ready to enroll public schools and child care centers across Georgia.
The program is FREE thanks to a federal Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) grant.
This Clean Water for Georgia Kids™ online portal is designed for easy online participant enrollment, test kit creation, test kit tracking, reminder notifications, results viewing, and reporting. All data are organized by county, city, and facility name in an online mapper, which is archived for participants and program partners. We implement industry-standard cybersecurity protocols to protect personal privacy and interface directly with laboratory systems for seamless data import and review.
The system can be used on a smartphone and does not require computer access.
To enroll, please register for one of the pre-enrollment webinars . The webinar overviews 1) how to enroll, 2) how to sample, and 3) how to ship your samples back. At the end of the webinar, you will receive the enrollment code to register your school. You will be led through a series of questions for us to help build your mail-out test kit and ship it to you.
To complete the program, your school must be open and operating at normal or reduced capacity.
During enrollment, we walk you through questions about your school type, water consumption, and building information used to help build your mail-out test kit. We will also ask you questions related to socioeconomic and demographic information to help prioritize schools based on need.
In addition to the pre-enrollment webinar, our written instructions and training videos are available online. We also have risk mitigation webinars to overview your results how to take action to get the lead out.
After you complete our pre-enrollment training and enroll, we will ship you a test kit for every drinking and cooking tap at your facility. As a citizen scientist, you will collect and ship water samples to us for laboratory analysis. Collecting a sample involves filling a water bottle for each tap used for drinking or cooking. Once sample collection is complete, pack the test kit, affix the pre-paid mailing label, and call UPS for pick up.
Lead levels in drinking water may vary throughout the day, and are likely to be higher the longer water has been sitting, unused, in the pipes. For this reason, we recommend collecting water samples on a Monday morning before any water is used in the building. This is called “first-draw” sampling, and it is the method we are using because lead is most likely to be in drinking and cooking water after periods of inactivity. Since many facilities are not used over the weekend, and very few are used overnight, sampling early in the morning gives us a “high-end” scenario for lead at the tap on a weekly basis.
After samples are shipped to RTI International, they are logged into the system. The RTI International Trace Metals Laboratory analyzes water samples using state-of-the-science laboratory equipment that allows us to detect lead in drinking water at levels as low as 0.1 parts per billion (ppb), also known as micrograms per liter (µg/L). We are certified by the state of Georgia to use EPA Method 200.8. Please note that this program does not analyze water for contaminants other than lead.
Once your samples are analyzed and verified using our quality assurance and control procedures, we email you a notification letter and your results are also present in your online portal. The results are provided along with tap-specific recommendations on how to use no-cost and low-cost solutions to improve water quality. The state of Georgia will also receive all results.
If a tap is at or above 15 ppb lead, we will be in touch with you to retest the tap and provide additional recommendations to fix the issue. We will also allow you to retest you water after you have taken measures to fix the issue.
The federal funding support for this program also mandates that lead results are publicly posted in a database that includes school name, address, tap name, the result, test date, and risk mitigation actions. All other identifying information is removed.
We provide your laboratory results with clear recommendations on affordable water quality improvements, plus tips for communicating with staff and parents. We will also provide basic information on installation and maintenance costs for a listing of filters certified to remove lead, , how to replace a faucet fixture, and more. Your school can then make the decision about how to best implement our recommendations based on your budget. Depending on the level of lead, the action might include:
With your help, we can help lower Georgia children’s exposure to lead with simple, affordable solutions.
We appreciate your willingness to help improve the water quality for your children and communicate efforts with parents, staff, and students. We encourage schools to ask questions or comments using our contact page, and discuss this program with other schools and child care associations.
We also recommend that schools notify parents and students of results within five business days of receiving online notification. Schools may use the specific results letter we provide. It is also a federal requirement that the test results from this program are available to the public free of charge. We fulfil this requirement by posting the testing results to the school’s public data mapper. We also encourage you to publish your school’s results on your school webpage.
In cases where a tap is detected at or above 15 ppb, you will receive additional communication and support.
The federal grant supporting this program requires that test results be posted publicly for transparency and awareness. All school data in the online enrollment survey will be kept confidential; however, the lead concentration results, school name, address, and testing date will be posted online. Schools can choose to provide us with information on solutions implemented at problem taps so that risk mitigation information is also available publicly.