New Mexico
Environment Department

Contact Information:
(505) 827-2855 MAIN // 1-800-219-6157 (toll free)
Environmental Emergencies:
505-827-9329 (24 hrs)

Drinking Water Bureau

Lead Assistance Project

lead assistanceReaching out to NM school districts – raising awareness about lead health issues & providing opportunity for free drinking water lead testing

2019 Fall Testing August 1 – September 30

To sign up or for sample questions, contact the Lead Assistance Project:

Project Partners:  NMED-Drinking Water Bureau (DWB) with funding from US. EPA; and NM Department of Health, Scientific Laboratory Division (SLD); and Childhood Lead Prevention Program (CLPP)


NMED’s Sustainable Water Infrastructure Group (SWIG) provides free assistance to better understand and maintain proper lead and copper levels.  SWIG is a leading partner in this statewide assistance project to help New Mexicans understand the importance of testing their drinking water for lead and what can be done about identified problems.  

The opportunity for free drinking water testing for lead during the months of April/May  and  August/September will be available each year as available funding allows.

The Project was created to provide educational information on lead contamination in drinking water and encourage schools and daycare facilities to:

  • work with their public water systems directly by asking questions about local lead issues.
  • test for lead properly where necessary.
  • understand the condition of the drinking water pipes.

The Project provides individual assistance to schools and daycare facilities to:

  1. collect samples properly on their own and receive accurate results.
  2. interpret and understand the sample results received and recommend if additional samples should be collected for confirmation.
  3. develop a detailed action plan on how to manage a building with sample sites identified as having elevated levels of lead in drinking water.
  4. identify any available public funding to replace pipes and fixtures that have been found to impact drinking water quality with lead contamination.

The Lead Assistance Project is needed because:

The Safe Drinking Water Act Lead and Copper Rule does not require testing in buildings, such as schools and daycare facilities where the health risks could be greatest for children under age 6 and pregnant women.

There is an urgent need to understand the potential problems that exist with old water infrastructure.  Providing the ability to properly test for lead in drinking water and identifying results of concern based on sound testing are important first steps of a good decision making process to reduce lead contamination.

Lead Assistance INFO Flyer (PDF) 

To sign up or for sample questions, contact the Lead Assistance Project:

It’s BEST to TEST for lead in drinking water

It is always best to test when considering the lead levels in the building if you have children age 6 or younger or pregnant women consuming the water.

The opportunity for free drinking water testing for lead during the months of April/May and August/ September will be available each year as available funding allows.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR FREE SAMPLING? Any principal, teacher, daycare provider, or maintenance staff can request free samples to collect at their school.  Sample collection is easy and instructions are included.

Free testing for lead offered by the Lead Assistance Project – how it works…

  1. IDENTIFY PROPER SAMPLE LOCATIONS: Identify the highest priority testing location in the schools or daycare center building.  These will be the taps where children most often drink and typically are drinking fountains, kitchen sinks, bathrooms or break rooms.  Do not collect samples from outside hoses, janitor closets or, utility sinks. 
  2. CALL THE STATE LAB (SLD) to request sample bottles for each sample location, instructions, and paperwork.
  3. COLLECT SAMPLE: fill bottles, complete forms, return the package postage paid as soon as possible.  Samples received more than 14 days after the water was collected cannot be analyzed.
  4. UNDERSTAND THE RESULTS: The results will be sent to the sample collector and to the state. Results will not be used for compliance purposes.  Lead results above 15 pbb (parts per billion) or 0.015 mg/L should trigger further investigation and potential action.
  5. CORRECTIVE ACTION PLAN: If results are of concern, there are various corrective action measures that can be taken to minimize lead levels until line and fixture replacement are completed.

Please contact:

For additional information on corrective action see:  NM DOH & NMED’s  New Mexico Guide to Reducing Lead in Drinking Water: Schools and Day Care Facilities

3Ts: Training, Testing, Telling

New Mexico also supports the EPA’s lead in drinking water school campaign:  3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities

EPA’s 3Ts was developed to assist schools with lead in drinking water prevention programs. 

The 3Ts is intended for use by school officials responsible for the maintenance and/or safety of school’s drinking water. The document introduces the 3Ts for reducing lead in drinking water which includes:

  • Training  school officials to raise awareness of the potential occurrences, causes, and health effects of lead in drinking water.
  • Testing  drinking water in schools to identify potential problems and take corrective actions as necessary.
  • Telling  students, parents, staff, and the larger community about monitoring programs, potential risks, the results of testing, and remediation actions.


3Ts Overview Flyer  (updated Oct. 2018)

3Ts Technical Guidebook information on lead, sampling, testing, and what to do if you water is found to contain lead.  (updated Oct. 2018)

The Training, Testing, Telling (3Ts) Full Toolkit  WEBSITE offers an abundance of information for water systems, schools, and childcare facilities.   (updated Oct. 2018)

3Ts for Public Water Utilities  – information for public water systems (PWS) on the 3Ts lead testing in schools and how the program differs from PWS regulatory lead and copper testing. (October 2018)