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Source: US Environment Protection Agency

News Releases from Region 03

$39.9 Million Announced Nationwide will Fund Projects to Protect Children in Disadvantaged Communities and Schools from Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water

10/27/2020

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WASHINGTON (Oct. 27, 2020) — Today, a virtual event with the Director of District of the Columbia’s Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) Tommy Wells, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Director of the Drinking Water Protection Division Anita Thompkins announced that the District of Columbia was selected to receive a $2.3 million grant. This funding will help reduce sources of lead in drinking water in schools and child care facilities to improve public health in the District of Columbia.

“Grants like these allow us to take the necessary steps to safeguard our most precious assets, our children,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “All children deserve to learn and thrive in healthy school environments.  These funds will go a long way in helping schools and child care facilities provide safe drinking water to children and faculty.” 

“Today’s announcement will help to ensure that the children of the District have safe drinking water,” said the Director of EPA’s Drinking Water Protection Division, Anita Thompkins. “The EPA is proud to help protect the children where they learn and play by reducing exposure to lead in drinking water in the city’s schools and child care facilities.”

“Mayor Bowser continues to lead the advancement of Maternal and Child Health” said DOEE Director, Tommy Wells.  “This EPA grant award is a substantial investment in keeping vulnerable children safe from exposure to lead.” 

As a part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, EPA is making the first-ever selections under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act’s Reduction in Lead Exposure via Drinking Water by announcing $39.9 million in grant funding for ten projects. EPA anticipates that it will award the District of Columbia a grant in the amount of $2.3 million once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

The District of Columbia will use this WIIN grant to help protect District children by reducing lead in drinking water at nearly 100% of licensed child care centers, charter and public schools, and recreational centers with child care programs. The District will sample, test, and remediate drinking water sources for lead in 487 licensed child care centers. The city will also augment current operations for replacement of 780 faucets that are currently incompatible with filtration systems that are certified to remove lead. The grant funding will be used to purchase additional filters, install and/or remediate water fountains on the exterior of buildings or playfields located on public and charter school properties.

In addition to announcing these WIIN Act grants, EPA is helping finance projects that remove sources of lead in drinking water through the new and innovative Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program and through the State Revolving Funds. Under the Water Infrastructure Fund Transfer Act (WIFTA), nine states have made one-time transfers of funds—totaling nearly $550 million—from the state Clean Water State Revolving Fund to the state Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) for lead-related, DWSRF-eligible projects.

Background

The 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) addresses, supports, and improves America’s drinking water infrastructure. Included in the WIIN Act are three drinking water grants that promote public health and the protection of the environment. Since 2018, EPA has made available more than $69 million to support testing for lead in drinking water at schools and child care programs and $42.8 million to assist public water systems in underserved, small, and disadvantaged communities meet Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/safewater/grants

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