Rhode Island Receives $398,000 to Expand Program to Test School Drinking Water for Lead
BOSTON (Oct. 28, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the State of Rhode Island $398,000 to help implement their program to test for lead in school drinking water. This funding was awarded to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RI DOH) through the voluntary 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 Rhode Island to uncover and fix potential sources of lead in drinking water."
"Health starts in our communities: in the places where we live, in the places where our kids learning, in the air that we breathe, and in the water that we drink. Ensuring safe and healthy drinking water is a core function of public health," said Seema Dixit, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health's Division of Environmental Health. "We are very grateful to the EPA for their partnership and support and look forward to working with schools and childcare facilities throughout the state on this critical work."
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 $1,491,000 has gone to Rhode Island.
Rhode Island DOH is implementing a program to test for lead in drinking water in all its public schools and childcare facilities. Rhode Island has approximately 312 public schools and approximately 930 childcare facilities. They will use EPA's WIIN Act Funding to implement their program, which includes a plan for responding to results of testing conducted and addressing potential elevated lead where necessary. This plan includes action at sample sites with results above the state action level of 15 ppb. In addition, the plan includes the sampling post-remediation to ensure efforts to reduce lead levels were effective.
For more information on lead testing of drinking water: