DEQ’s Division of Drinking Water is urging Utah schools and childcare facilities to apply for funding to test for lead in their drinking water after receiving a $434,000 EPA grant to cover testing costs.
The Division of Drinking Water (DDW) is currently accepting applications for funding to test school drinking water for lead. Public schools, charter schools, Head Start programs, and licensed childcare facilities are eligible to participate. Private schools are not eligible. Test results using grant funds must be made available to the public.
The Division recently launched a Lead-free Learning Initiative to support the distribution of grant monies and provide important information to schools, childcare programs, and parents about the EPA grant, voluntary testing parameters, and ways to reduce lead in drinking water at school and at home.
Young children and infants exposed to lead are at risk for delays in their physical and mental development, lower IQ levels, and brain damage. Because children spend a significant amount of their time at school, it is critical that these facilities — particularly those serving children ages six and under — know if their drinking water contains lead.
DDW will review applications received by the March 31 deadline and determine if the grant will cover the costs for all applications submitted. If the total amount requested exceeds the funds available, DDW will prioritize applications based on the community’s financial need and the number of children under six served by the building.
If funding remains after the application deadline, DDW will hold an open enrollment period. Eligible facilities can apply during this open enrollment period, and grant funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.