Maine Receives $668,000 to Implement State Requirement to Test School Drinking Water for Lead
BOSTON (Oct. 28, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the State of Maine $668,000 to use for lead testing in schools. The State has recently mandated that school facilities must complete testing during the 2021-22 school year. This grant was awarded to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services through the voluntary EPA Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN Act) Lead Testing in School and Childcare Program Drinking Water Grant program in 2020 and 2021.
"Understanding where exposure to lead occurs is a critical first step in reducing blood-lead rates in children," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. "EPA's WIIN Act Lead Testing in School and Childcare Drinking Water Grant is a terrific resource for states like Maine to use to uncover and fix potential sources of lead in drinking water."
"We are happy to receive this funding to further our program to test for lead in school drinking water fixtures," said Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "We believe that testing in schools will be an important part of our mission to reduce lead exposure and create healthy environments for Maine's children to learn and grow."
The WIIN Lead Testing in Schools and Childcare Program was introduced in 2019 with $43.7 million in grant funds and was expanded in 2021 with an additional $26.5 million in grant funds to states, territories, and tribes nationwide. Since 2019, EPA has awarded over $8.3 million to the New England states, of that $1,074,000 has gone to Maine.
Recently, Maine enacted a law that requires lead testing in all K-12 school buildings. The funding that the EPA provided will assist in the implementation of the State's mandate, offering free testing for lead in drinking water at all Maine schools.
For more information on lead testing of drinking water: