A Simple Lead Test for Drinking Water Safety

EPA Contract Number: EPD17041
Title: A Simple Lead Test for Drinking Water Safety
Investigators: Carter, Michael T.
Small Business: KWJ Engineering, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018
Project Amount: $99,965
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2017) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Water


The goal of this program is to demonstrate a simple, low cost home test for lead ion, Pb(II), in drinking water. The US is faced with a deteriorating water service system used by many millions of people. This condition poses a serious public health threat, as illustrated recently by the Flint water crisis, but the problem is widespread and expected to grow. A simple, yet reliable test is needed that can be performed by untrained citizens. The test will provide reliable determination of drinking water Pb(II) compared to the 15 ppb Pb(II) action level. Current home tests are of unverified reliability and often are too expensive for routine use or require sending samples to a lab. Adoption of the new home test will result in significant public health benefits for the nation by facilitating drinking water testing. An electrochemical strip will be developed to perform Pb(II) analysis with simple safe/unsafe result provided to the user. This system will meet the cost and performance specifications of SBIR topic 4C. Development will leverage previous experience at KWJ with sensor fabrication and engineering. The technology will be a platform technology with extended applications in environmental analysis and industrial hygiene.

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report