The U.S. EPA announced a $2.2 million grant to test for lead in drinking water.
Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are specifically the targets of this initiative, according to the Houston Chronicle. The funds are provided through EPA’s new drinking water grant program, which is established by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care grant program.
The goal is to restore water projects and infrastructure across the U.S., including waterways, watersheds, flood control and drinking water.
"Ensuring access to clean drinking water and protecting children from exposure to lead are critically important to EPA," said EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick in a press release. “This funding will support our states’ efforts to keep children in schools and child care programs safe from the adverse health impacts of lead in drinking water.”
Alaska Department of Education and Early Development will use $111,000 to test for lead in drinking water at schools and child care facilities, reported the Houston Chronicle. Facilities serving children under 6 years old and in under-served and low-income populations are top priority for the state.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality will use $285,000 and will focus on facilities that are older and likely contain lead plumbing. The Oregon Department of Education will get $1.1 million to provide funding, training and technical assistance to schools and child care facilities to test for lead in drinking water. Under state laws enacted in 2017, public schools and licensed child care facilities in Oregon are required to test for lead in all water.
The Washington State Department of Health will use $723,000 to conduct lead testing in child care facilities in addition to public schools. Washington will also test water fixtures used for drinking or cooking.