EPA Expects to Award New Jersey $1,537,000 in Funding to Test for Lead in School Drinking Water
NEW YORK - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects to award $1,537,000 in grant funding to assist the Executive Office of the State of New Jersey with identifying sources of lead in drinking water in schools or child care facilities.
“EPA has worked closely with New Jersey and several local governments across the state to address lead in drinking water,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “One common issue faced by communities and states is limited resources, and this grant will help support their use of EPA’s Training Testing and Taking Action program to reduce kids’ exposure to lead in school or at daycare.”
Under EPA’s new Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care grant program, EPA has awarded $43.7 million in grants to fund the implementation of testing for lead in drinking water. This funding is a resource that creates or expands programs to test for lead in drinking water at schools and child care programs in states and the District of Columbia. The Executive Office of the State of New Jersey will use the grant money to implement EPA’s Training, Testing, and Taking Action program (3Ts) to test for lead in drinking water at state-licensed and registered childcare facilities. This includes communicating the results and important lead information to the community, parents and the public, training licensed/registered childcare programs on the risks of lead in drinking water, testing all outlets used for consumption in 4,200 licensed child care centers, taking action to develop a plan for responding to the results of testing conducted and addressing potentially elevated lead levels where necessary. New Jersey intends to prioritize facilities located in low-income communities serving children ages 6 years and under and childcare facilities that are not included in existing school-based lead testing programs. The grantee will use EPA’s 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools to assist schools in implementing lead in drinking water testing including identifying sources of lead such as fountains.
Under Administrator Wheeler’s leadership, EPA announced the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts with its federal partners in December 2018. Through this Action Plan, EPA is working to reduce lead exposures from multiple sources including paint, ambient air and soil and dust contamination. As part of this Action Plan, EPA proposed a rule in October 2019 that significantly improves the actions that water systems must take to reduce lead in the nation’s drinking water. This proposed rule represents the first major overhaul of the Lead and Copper Rule since 1991 and will better protect children in schools and child care facilities by requiring water systems to take drinking water samples from the schools and child care facilities served by the system.
The other significant actions the agency is taking to modernize aging water infrastructure and reduce exposure to lead include:
- 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 later this year.
- Providing more than $1 billion in 2019 in new federal grant funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) that 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
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