Story at a glance

  • The EPA announced a $2.2 million grant in funding for lead contamination testing of drinking water supplying schools and child care facilities.
  • The four states receiving funding are Oregon, Alaska, Washington and Idaho.
  • The funding is available to states through the WIIN bill and a new drinking water grant program.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week awarded $2.2 million in grants for states near the Pacific Northwest to help test for lead in school drinking water.

Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington will receive funding to help locate sources of lead in drinking water for schools and child care facilities.

"Ensuring access to clean drinking water and protecting children from exposure to lead are critically important to EPA," Chris Hladick, a regional EPA administrator, said in a statement Wednesday. "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."

The money was provided through the EPA’s new drinking water grant program, which was established by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN) Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care grant program signed by President Obama in December 2016.

The goal is to restore water projects and infrastructure across the U.S., including waterways, watersheds, flood control and drinking water. At the time, it provided funding for Flint, Mich., to recover from the massive lead contamination in the town’s water supply.

The EPA has awarded $43.7 million in grants to support lead contamination testing across the U.S.

Wednesday's announcement said the Oregon Department of Education will receive $1.1 million. State laws enacted in 2017 require lead testing in Oregon public schools and child care operations.

The Washington State Department of Health will receive $723,000, followed by$285,000 for Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality and $111,000 for Alaska.

Published on Jan 30, 2020