Oct 12, 2020

Hawaii Receives $222,000 in Funding to Test for Lead in School Drinking Water

Hawaii Department of Health’s Environmental Health Administration (EHA) has received grant funding to identify sources of lead in drinking water in schools and childcare facilities.

hawaii lead testing

The U.S. EPA announced an award of $222,000 in grant funding to assist the Hawaii Department of Health’s Environmental Health Administration (EHA) with identifying sources of lead in drinking water in schools and childcare facilities.

“Lead testing of drinking water is critical for the protection of our children,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “EPA is pleased to support Hawaii in its efforts to detect and reduce lead in drinking water, thereby protecting children's health at school and elsewhere.”

The State of Hawaii’s contribution to the project is an additional $696,000. This funding comes from a set-aside portion of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, for a total project worth $918,000, according to the EPA. 

Hawaii’s project will include testing the drinking water for lead at outlets used for water consumption at 106 Department of Education schools and at 229 Department of Human Services licensed and regulated child care facilities.

The schools included are:

  • Those serving younger children;
  • Schools with greater than 50% of students receiving free or reduced cost lunch and;
  • Older schools built before 1988.

The child care facilities selected include those that were not previously tested in 2008 as part of the comprehensive 2008 Hawaii Department of Health study, according to the EPA.

According to the EPA, facilities built before 1988 pose a greater risk since they are likely to contain lead-bearing materials in their plumbing. 

“This partnership is a welcome opportunity to help protect and ensure that our schools’ drinking water sources are safe for children in Hawaii. We appreciate the EPA for their ongoing commitment to our island communities,” said Hawaii DOH Deputy Director Keith Kawaoka.

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