Vermont Receives $117,000 to Implement State Program to Test Drinking Water for Lead in Schools with Vulnerable Populations
BOSTON (Oct. 28, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the State of Vermont $117,000 to use to help implement Act 66 – the state program that requires testing for lead in school drinking water. This funding was awarded to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC) through the voluntary EPA Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation's (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 Vermont to use in order to uncover and fix potential sources of lead in drinking water."
"Reducing childhood lead exposure in Vermont is a priority," said Bryan Redmond, Director of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division. "Implementing Act 66 across the state has helped us work to make sure Vermont students aren't being exposed to lead in school drinking water."
The WIIN Act Lead Testing in School and Childcare Program Drinking Water Grant 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 nation-wide. Since 2019, EPA has awarded over $8.3 million to the New England states, of which $412,000 has gone to Vermont.
In 2019, the State enacted Act 66, requiring testing and remediation of lead in drinking water of schools and childcare facilities. The Act requires that every outlet used for consumptive purposes at a school or childcare facility must be sampled for lead. The EPA WIIN Act funding helps implement Act 66 focusing on providing sampling at facilities with the most vulnerable populations, children and older facilities with lead-containing infrastructure. Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC) has formed a partnership with the Vermont Department of Health, Department of Children and Families, and Agency of Education to keep the public informed and has provided notice letters to all students, staff, parents/guardians.
For more information on lead testing of drinking water: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/environmental/lead-testing-drinking-water-schools-and-child-care-facilities-2019-20