- Andrew Napolitano
Clean Water Trust Approves $69,000 in School Water Improvement Grants in Second Round
4 School Districts and 2 Daycares across Massachusetts Receive Funding to Address Lead Levels in Drinking Water
BOSTON — On Wednesday, May 4th, the Board of Trustees for the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (the Trust) approved a round of grants totaling $69,000 in to 4 School Districts and 2 Daycares 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 public and private facilities serving childcare and pre-K, kindergarten, and elementary schools. This program is designed to encourage communities to perform lead testing and address elevated levels with the help of state experts.
“We are committed to projects that protect the health of our children in Massachusetts,” said State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, Chair of the Clean Water Trust. “Access to safe drinking water is essential, and the SWIG Program continues to help us solve this challenge by providing grants to additional school and childcare facilities across the state.”
“The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to work with our Clean Water Trust partners to protect our children from exposure to lead in drinking water at schools and childcare facilities," said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg, which administers the Expanded Assistance Program for Lead in Drinking Water at Schools and Childcare Facilities. "The SWIG program provides much needed funding for removing lead found at bubblers and similar fixtures identified through testing in our MassDEP Assistance Program. As more schools and childcare facilities test for lead, we look forward to working with them and the SWIG program to provide students and staff with safe and clean water."
“The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to work alongside Treasurer Goldberg and the Clean Water Trust to invest in drinking water infrastructure at facilities for school-aged children across the Commonwealth,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. “Close collaboration across state government has made the SWIG program successful and we look forward to what these resources will do for the more than 3,000 students impacted by this grant award.”
Giving Tree School (Gill)
Harbor City School (East Boston)
Holyoke Community Charter School
Lowell Public School District
Medway Public School District
Nashoba Regional School District
The $69,000 is expected to install 23 fixtures in 8 schools and 2 childcare facilities, serving over 3,303 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.
SWIG is funded through an appropriation filed by Governor Charlie Baker and approved by the legislature, along with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This program has provided grants to school districts that have participated in the Commonwealth's lead testing program or other comparable testing for drinking water fixtures.
In 2020, the pilot round provided grants to 37 school districts for 128 schools serving over 69,000 students in the Commonwealth. A total of $954,000 was disbursed to install 318 bottle filling stations.
Under current federal and state laws, lead testing in schools is voluntary. However, recent revisions to the federal Lead and Copper Rule will require that water suppliers offer and conduct free testing at schools and childcare facilities starting in 2024. 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.
MassDEP's Expanded Assistance Program for Free Sampling and Analysis at Schools and Early Education and Care Facilities continues the Commonwealth's nation-leading program by offering free lead testing and technical assistance to eligible public schools as well as public and private group childcare facilities. The program is now accepting applications for assistance.
For More Information
Communities interested in learning more about the program and availability for SWIG funds should reach out to support staff at SWIG@tre.state.ma.us.
About the Clean Water Trust
Since its establishment in 1989, the Trust has loaned nearly $8.1 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.