On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that as part of his Lead-Free Pennsylvania, he secured a $1.74 million federal grant for testing lead in drinking water at schools and child care centers.
A release states that the grant comes from EPA’s Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, Section 1459B of the Safe Drinking Water Act. This authorizes grant funds for reducing lead in drinking water.
The funding from EPA will cover 100 percent of the cost of water testing.
“To build a better, healthier Pennsylvania, we need to know the extent of problems such as lead in drinking water, so I am especially pleased that we received this EPA funding,” Wolf said in a release.
He added, “Testing the water of thousands of child care centers and schools will give us a benchmark of the work we need to do next for removing lead from water and protecting our vulnerable school children.”
PENNVEST, in coordination with departments of Education, Human Services, Health, and Environmental Protection, will administer the funding.
The next step in the process will be issuing a competitive request for proposal within the next few weeks for interested parties. They will then coordinate voluntary testing in targeted locations throughout the state.
A release states that the Department of Education has a list of around 3,000 targeted facilities. Schools being considered need to have:
- A high propensity for lead contamination
- Serve large numbers of disadvantaged populations, and/or
- Serve large numbers of lower-income children under the age of 6
The goal of the program is to get testing results by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
Last month, Wolf announced his budget, which included up to $1 billion for lead removal and remediation within Pennsylvania’s toxic schools.