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Children’s Health Month: EPA Offers nearly $30 million to Support Cleaner Water and Air for America’s Schoolchildren

10/01/2018
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (October 1, 2018) – In honor of Children’s Health Month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the availability of nearly $30 million to support safe drinking water and cleaner air. EPA is making $20 million available for states and tribes to test for lead in drinking water at schools and childcare facilities. At the same time, EPA is announcing approximately $9 million in rebates to public school bus fleet owners to help them replace older school buses with cleaner, more modern vehicles. 

Joined by students, parents, career EPA staff, and members of the National Environmental Education Foundation, Diesel Technology Forum and National School Transportation Association, Acting Administrator Wheeler announced the funding while highlighting the dozens of active programs at EPA that focus on  children’s health and healthy learning environments.

“Children’s health is a top priority at EPA, and we have made tremendous progress improving air and water quality and helping kids and families lead healthier lives,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “In recognition of National Children’s Health Month, EPA is announcing new funding to reduce lead exposure, improve air quality, and help children and families prosper.”

Children are uniquely vulnerable to the potential health effects of environmental hazards, such as contaminated drinking water and air because their systems are still growing and developing.

SAFE DRINKING WATER

EPA‘s new grant program will support voluntary testing of lead in drinking water in schools and childcare facilities. The program includes $20 million in funding for states, including $1.2 million set aside specifically for tribal schools. EPA requests that states interested in participating in the grant program, submit letters of intent to EPA by January 11, 2019

To support the new grant program, EPA has updated its 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water. The updated document will assist schools and childcare facilities with developing lead in drinking water prevention programs through EPA’s 3Ts – training, testing, and taking action. Together, EPA’s new grants and the 3Ts, will provide states and schools with the tools they need to help protect children from lead in drinking water. 

CLEAN AIR

Today, EPA announced approximately $9 million in rebates to upgrade school buses with older engines, which reduces diesel emissions and improves air quality. This is the sixth rebate program to fund cleaner school buses offered under Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) appropriations. DERA funding has supported nearly 25,000 cleaner buses across the country for America’s schoolchildren.

EPA standards for new diesel engines make them more than 90 percent cleaner than older ones, but many older diesel engines still in operation predate these standards. Older diesel engines emit large quantities of pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which have been linked to serious health problems such as aggravated asthma and lung damage. EPA will accept applications from September 28 to November 6, 2018.  

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES