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A LOOK INTO MASSACHUSETTS CLEAN WATER TRUST

BREAKING DOWN THE SWIG Program

Photo Caption: Teacher Michele Nicholas posing with student Bailee Nicholas filling her water bottle from the newly installed water bottle filling station at a North Adams Public School.

[Interview by Meghan Schroeder - Summer 2022] 

Program Overview

The School Water Improvement Grants (SWIG) Program was created to address lead in school drinking water. The program incentivizes schools to test their drinking water with grants for installing water bottle filling stations.

The program is provided by the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (Trust) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to public and private schools, early education facilities and non-residential daycare facilities. SWIG grant funds are awarded based on applications received denoting the amount of water bottle filling stations needed and the facilities they are assigned to. Recipients have one (1) year to procure and install the fixtures as well as complete post-installation water testing.

SWIG Awards Total to Date

52 Districts/Organizations

463 Fixtures

185 Facilities

94,363 Students Represented

$1,380,000 Grant Money Awarded

"GPS is grateful to the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust for providing the grant opportunity, in addition to clear guidance and collaborative assistance, to help the district better serve their children and families."

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Program Testimonials

In 2021, Gardner Public Schools received $39,000 from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust to replace 13 drinking water fountains with filtered water bottle filling stations throughout the district. Since installing these filtered stations, the district has felt a sense of calm over the safety that the stations provide.

Having them in place has increased the level of confidence felt by families as they send their children back to school in a hybrid model due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"GPS is grateful to the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust for providing the grant opportunity, in addition to clear guidance and collaborative assistance, to help the district better serve their children and families."

At Middleborough Public Schools, according to the Director of Facilities Jim Hutchinson,

“With the SWIG funds, we were able to purchase the fixture, plus miscellaneous materials. This was extremely helpful when we had to eliminate the conventional bubblers in the District because of the pandemic, and the need to eliminate touch points.”

Littleton Public Schools (LPS) installed two filtered water bottle fill stations with the help of the SWIG Program. Installation happened in December of 2020 in two elementary school buildings.

"LPS Schools thanks the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust for their support in funding the purchase and installation of these two filtered stations."

To learn more about the SWIG program, visit: www.mass.gov/swig

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ABOUT Massachusetts Clean Water Trust

The Trust helps communities build or replace water infrastructure that enhances ground and surface water resources, ensures the safety of drinking water, protects public health and develops resilient communities. It accomplishes these objectives by providing low-interest loans and grants to cities, towns and water utilities.