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EPA and New Mexico to test for lead in school drinking water

02/20/2020
Contact Information: 
Joe Hubbard or Jennah Durant at r6press@epa.gov or 214 665-2200

DALLAS – (Feb. 20, 2020) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded $294,000 to the New Mexico Department of Health to assist with identifying sources of lead in drinking water in schools or child care facilities. The funding will help protect children in disadvantaged communities and makes progress on implementing the federal action plan to reduce childhood lead exposures

“We are taking additional steps to identify and reduce lead contamination in schools across the county,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “Preventing children from exposure to lead is an important public health priority for this administration.”

Under EPA’s new Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care grant program, EPA has awarded $43.7 million in grants towards funding the implementation of testing for lead in drinking water. This funding is a resource which creates or expands programs to test for lead in drinking water at schools and child care programs in states and the District of Columbia.

Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools will be used by the New Mexico to assist schools in implementing lead in drinking water testing including identifying sources of lead such as fountains.

In addition, the agency is taking other significant actions to modernize aging water infrastructure and reduce exposure to lead, including:

  • Financing drinking water infrastructure improvement projects through EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. In 2019, 11 of the 38 selected projects will reduce lead or emerging drinking water contaminants.
  • Working with states, tribes, and territories to award $87 million in funding through EPA’s two new drinking water grant programs established by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN)— the Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care grant program and the Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities grant program. EPA will announce funding details for WIIN’s third newly-created grant program dedicated to reducing lead in drinking water systems in early 2020.
  • Providing more than $1 billion in 2019 in new federal grant funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) which can be used for loans that help drinking water systems improve distribution systems by removing lead service lines.

Learn more about this grant and EPA’s WIIN grant programs at https://www.epa.gov/safewater/grants

As part of EPA’s 50th anniversary celebration, EPA recently announced the availability of approximately $40 million to assist disadvantaged communities and schools with removing sources of lead in drinking water. The funding opportunity is available now and will remain open for 60 days on www.grants.gov.

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Activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.htm 

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