The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the St. Tammany Parish, La., government received a...
EPA has released a specialized toolkit to encourage school officials and child care facilities to reduce lead in their drinking water. The "3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water at Schools and Child care Facilities Toolkit" contains materials to implement a voluntary Training, Testing and Telling strategy.
"Our drinking water tools for schools teach lead prevention through action and awareness," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water. "This new and improved guidance will help students, teachers and parents have confidence in the quality of their schools’ tap water."
Testing water in schools and child care centers is important because children spend a significant portion of their days there. The "3Ts Toolkit" explains how to test for lead in drinking water; report results to parents, students, staff and other interested parties; and take action to correct problems. The toolkit also includes an update to a 1994 EPA technical guide to help schools design and implement testing programs. Steps in the program include:
-- Collecting information on school drinking water and identifying assistance to implement a school lead control program;
-- Developing a plumbing profile;
-- Developing a drinking water testing plan;
-- Testing the facility’s drinking water for lead;
-- Correcting problems when elevated lead levels are found; and
-- Communicating with the school community about a school lead-control program.
EPA developed the toolkit in conjunction with non-government organizations and several federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Education, whose Safe and Drug-Free School coordinators will help promote and distribute the package to schools.
Deborah Price, assistant deputy secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the Department of Education, said, "An unhealthy school environment is a serious barrier to learning. This toolkit will help schools work with their community partners to understand and reduce children's lead exposure from drinking water."