Massachusetts Receives $327,000 to Expand Program Testing Drinking Water for Lead in Schools
BOSTON, MASS. (Oct. 28, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the State of Massachusetts $327,000 to use for lead testing in schools as part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Assistance Program for Lead in School Drinking Water. This funding was awarded to the Commonwealth through the voluntary EPA Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN Act) Lead Testing in School and Childcare Program Drinking Water Grant program.
"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 Massachusetts to use to uncover and fix potential sources of lead in drinking water."
"We are pleased to receive this grant, which allows us to continue to offer free technical assistance and water sampling to schools and childcare facilities," said Commissioner Martin Suuberg of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). "With thousands of schools and childcare facilities across the Commonwealth, these funds are essential in our efforts to engage with communities, staff, and parents about the importance of water testing and the steps that they can take to minimize levels of lead in drinking water in these buildings."
The WIIN Lead Testing in Schools and Childcare Program Grant 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 nation-wide. Since 2019, EPA has awarded over $8.3 million to the New England states, of that $1,615,000 has gone to Massachusetts.
In 2016, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts launched the Commonwealth's Assistance Program for Lead in School Drinking Water. EPA's WIIN Act Funding has been able to help expand this highly successful program designed to assist public schools and group-based early education and care facilities (EECFs) in testing their drinking water for lead and copper.
MassDEP and its partners, the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Department of Early Education and Care (DEEC), proactively reached out across the Commonwealth to solicit schools, and group-based EECFs to participate- and with more money can include more schools. MassDEP continues its collaboration with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to offer training, planning and technical assistance, and water sampling and analysis for those public schools and public and private group-based and family-based EECFs that did not participate in the previous program.
For more information on lead testing of drinking water: