Feds fund test for lead in school water

HONOLULU — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (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.

The State of Hawaii’s contribution to the project is an additional $696,000 from the technical assistance set-aside portion of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, for a total project worth $918,000. 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 selected schools include those serving younger children, schools with greater than 50% of students receiving free or reduced cost lunch and older schools built before 1988.

The selected child care facilities include those that were not previously tested in 2008 as part of the comprehensive 2008 Hawaii Department of Health study, such as those built or licensed after the 2008 study.

Facilities built before 1988 pose a greater risk as they are more likely to contain lead-bearing materials in their plumbing. Outlets found to have water with elevated levels of lead will be retested, and then remediated as necessary. Results will be communicated to the facilities, families and the community.

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