$39.9 million will fund projects to protect children in disadvantaged communities and schools from exposure to lead in drinking water
Newark, New Jersey public schools will receive $7.5 million in federal grant money to continue cleaning up lead in the drinking water.
The grant would help to remove and replace sources of lead in drinking water in the city’s 64 schools, according to the EPA press release. According to the city, the schools have been undergoing remediation for lead in the buildings' drinking water since elevated lead levels were first detected in 2016, reported New Jersey News..
The funding for the grant comes from the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act), according to the press release. The EPA announced $39.9 million in grant funding for ten projects.
“The Board of Education will use the EPA grant funding to remove sources of lead in drinking water in schools, including addressing lead pipes and fixtures,” said the press release. “The project will also include outreach and public education to raise awareness of the health effects of lead in drinking water and ways to reduce lead exposure.”
The funding has not yet been awarded, but the EPA expects to make a formal grant award in early 2021, an EPA spokesperson said.
In March 2016, officials immediately shut off all drinking fountains at the affected schools because the lead levels detected at the school buildings exceeded 15 parts per billion.
The federal grant will allow the school district to continue remediation, which includes ripping up walls in schools lined with asbestos and replacing aging water fountains and lead pipes in the schools' foundations.
The city has been working to replace 18,000 underground lead pipes to address the lead in water issue as well.