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Colorado receives $835,000 to reduce lead exposure in child care facilities and schools

The Investing in America agenda advances clean water plan
A gap in lead-testing requirements at schools around the nation means students could be at risk for drinking water with high levels of lead. The Associated Press

On July 31, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Colorado will receive $835,000 in grant funding to minimize lead exposure in schools and child care facilities.

Through the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in America agenda, funds for lead mitigation will support testing and compliance monitoring as well as lead remediation in water that children and employees in schools and child care facilities drink. Additionally, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act allows the removal of lead sources. This includes replacing lead pipes and lead connectors, which are a predominant source for lead poisoning. Remediation projects also include the removal, installation and replacement of internal plumbing, faucets, water fountains and water filler stations.

As stated in an EPA news release, the funding advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan – where it is committed for clean water delivery to all communities, especially low-income and the historically disadvantaged.

The agenda also follows the Justice40 Intitative, where it reaches marginalized and underserved communities that usually are oppressed by pollution. These communities can be shown in The Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool – a geospatial mapping tool that shows where underserved communities exist.

The map encompasses Montezuma County and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe as communities that mirror this population.

Child care facilities and schools need to follow the EPA’s 3T’s Program – Training, Testing and Taking Action – to be eligible. This program gives guidelines and support for taking action as well as technical assistance to provide health and safety for children in educational and early child care environments.

“Ensuring that our children and our most vulnerable communities have access to clean drinking water is a top priority for the Biden-Harris administration and EPA. These additional funds will expand on existing lead remediation programs and help to improve public health in Colorado,” said KC Becker, Mountains and Plains administrator for the EPA.

Colorado’s grant is a dividend from the $58 million national funding to support President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through the WIIN funding.