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BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) New England office today awarded a $967,000 grant to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to support testing of drinking water in schools and child care programs, to ensure that children are not being exposed to lead in the water they consume.
The funding, authorized under a section of the national Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (the WIIN Act), aims to reduce children’s exposure to elevated lead in drinking water. The EPA grant is an important piece of an overall Lead Action Plan to reduce lead in all media, including where children live, play, and learn.
“Protecting children from exposure to lead is critically important to EPA,” said EPA Region 1 Administrator Dennis Deziel. “Each October we celebrate Children’s Health Month, so EPA is especially pleased that this grant will support the Commonwealth’s efforts to detect and reduce lead in drinking water, thereby protecting children’s health at schools and elsewhere.” “The Lead in School Drinking Water Assistance Program is the Commonwealth’s nation-leading effort to keep children in schools and child care programs safe from the adverse health impacts of lead from water fountains and faucets,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Nearly 1,000 school buildings in 150 communities sampled for lead in the first two rounds of the program, and we are grateful to the U.S. EPA for providing this additional funding to allow more schools and day care centers to test for this potential contaminant in drinking water.”
As Chair of the Clean Water Trust, I am pleased to partner with the EPA, Mass DEP, and the MWRA on this critical work. This generous grant from the EPA will allow us to continue testing lead and copper levels in schools and daycares, underscoring the importance of investing in water infrastructure, especially when it comes to our children’s health and safety,” said Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg.
“This is a very positive development and EPA has taken a comprehensive and aggressive view,” said MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey.
The EPA grant will continue and expand the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Assistance Program for Lead in School Drinking Water, a nationally-recognized program that has already helped almost 1,000 public schools and child care programs take proactive steps to find and get the lead out of drinking water. MassDEP, in collaboration with UMass-Amherst, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, and other partners, will use the funds to communicate, train, test, and take action in schools in high risk communities throughout the Commonwealth.
More information on WIIN grants: https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/wiin-grant-lead-testing-school-and-child-care-program-drinking-water .
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