Clean Water Trust Approves $675,000 in School Water Improvement Grants in First Round
32 School Districts across Massachusetts Receive Funding to Address Lead Levels in School Drinking Water
BOSTON - On Wednesday, April 29th, the Board of Trustees for the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (the Trust) approved the first round of grants totaling $675,000 to 32 school districts for the Trust's School Water Improvement Grant (SWIG) program. SWIG, a grant-based program, will cover the purchase and installation of filtered water bottle filling stations to address detections of lead in drinking water at eligible public schools. This program is designed to encourage communities to perform lead testing and address elevated levels with the help of state experts. "As Chair of the Clean Water Trust, I am happy that we are moving forward with our first round of applicants," said State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, "This is critical work for many communities and I appreciate the commitment of everyone involved to protect the health and safety our children." The Trust's SWIG program, funded through a $5 million appropriation filed by Governor Baker and approved by the legislature, will provide grants to the following school districts that have participated in the Commonwealth's lead testing program or other comparable testing for drinking water fixtures.
"Protecting the health and safety of students at Massachusetts' schools is a critical priority, and the Baker-Polito Administration is proud to work with the Clean Water Trust to support the installation of water filtration technology at more than 30 school districts across the Commonwealth," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. "As we continue to build on efforts to test for lead in school drinking water, this program provides a needed resource for school systems to address water quality and safety issues."
"Congratulations to these schools who have taken advantage of this funding to improve water quality" said Martin Suuberg, Commissioner of MassDEP. "This program is part of our continued efforts to encourage testing for and addressing lead and copper in schools and childcare facilities."
The $675,000 is expected to install 225 fixtures in 95 schools, serving over 53,000 students in the Commonwealth. These filtered fixtures will be used to reduce the lead levels in school drinking water. Grant awards were calculated based on a per fixture award of $3,000. Award funds may be used for the purchase and installation of bottle filling stations, the future testing of these fixtures and the purchase of replacement filters. Under current federal and state laws, lead testing in schools is voluntary. Water supplied to schools is generally free of lead, but lead can be introduced into drinking water through plumbing and fixtures in buildings -- especially in older facilities. About the Clean Water Trust Since its establishment in 1989, the Clean Water Trust has loaned nearly $7.6 billion to improve and maintain the quality of water in the Commonwealth. An estimated 97 percent of Massachusetts' residents have benefited from the financial assistance of the Trust.