Eligible schools and childcare facilities can apply for funding to test their drinking water for lead. Public schools, charter schools, Head Start programs, and licensed childcare facilities are eligible to participate. Private schools are not eligible.
The funding process involves six steps:
Schools and childcare facilities can apply online. DDW has prepared a pre-application checklist to help facilities collect the necessary information for the online application form. If 10 or more buildings require testing, facilities should fill out the expanded application.
Schools and other facilities that apply by March 31, 2020, have the best chance to receive funding.
DDW will review applications received by March 31, 2020, and determine whether the grant can cover the costs for all submitted applications. The Division 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 March 31, 2020, 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.
DDW will notify qualifying facilities after reviewing applications. Funding is determined by adding the number of samples collected to the costs associated with collecting samples as follows:
- $35 per sample to cover the costs of laboratory analysis and shipping.
- A lump payment to cover the labor costs of collecting samples and recording and sharing the results
- 1-3 samples: $50
- 4-20 samples: $100
- 20-40 samples: $200
- 40-60 samples: $300
- 60-80 samples: $400
- 80-100 samples: $500
- An additional $100 for every 20 samples beyond 100
For example, a school approved to collect 10 samples would be awarded $450 (10 samples at $35/sample = $350 + $100 lump payment).
DDW requires submissions of two financial forms to facilitate payment: the school’s W-9 and a State Vendor Form. The vendor form is required by the Utah Department of Finance to ensure secure payment. Each facility will be asked to provide the sample collection schedule, the certified laboratory chosen, and if the school or childcare center would like assistance collecting samples. (DDW may be able to assist with sample collection).
The Division will send out a grant agreement after it receives the required forms. The grant agreement will stipulate the maximum award amount, the time frame for project completion, and the requirements for participation. The facility officially becomes a participant in the Lead-free Learning Initiative when it signs the grant agreement.
Each school or childcare facility will need to develop a sampling plan. DDW has developed a template that schools and childcare facilities can use to conduct their inventory and implement their sampling plan. Facilities are urged to follow the sampling protocol carefully for accurate results. More information can be found in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 3Ts Toolkit for reducing lead in drinking water.
DDW recommends that facilities notify staff and parents of testing before collecting samples. Explain the purpose of testing, where and when results will be available, and how the facility will fix any issues found.
Create a Sampling Inventory
Conduct a walkthrough of the facility and create an inventory of all water sources used for drinking water or cooking. Use the Sampling Inventory Checklist provided here to help develop the building inventory.
Develop a Sampling Plan
The sampling plan helps facilities decide where, when, and how to collect drinking water samples. Use the Plumbing Profile Questionnaire to identify and prioritize sample sites and the Lead Sampling Checklist provided to develop a sampling plan.
3. Interpret Results
If a sample exceeds a concentration of 15 parts per billion (ppb), the facility should remove the fixture from service (e.g., put tape and an “Out of Service” sign on a drinking fountain. Facilities can use this sample sign). The fixture should remain out of service until steps have been taken to lower the concentration and a follow-up sample has confirmed that the concentration has fallen below action levels. DDW will work with participants to determine the best course of action to address elevated lead concentration from fixtures.
Money from this grant can be used to pay for follow-up samples and associated rush fees to have analysis expedited, but it cannot be used for remediation such as replacing fixtures, plumbing materials, or labor for remediation work.
4. Address Issues
Elevated lead concentrations may be adequately lowered through routine flushing. Flushing, however, may not suffice for some fixtures, which may need to be partially or completely replaced. A typical strategy would be to take a fixture out of service and take a flush sample. If flushing adequately reduces the concentration, the facility could implement a routine flushing schedule.
Schools and childcare facilities can explore a variety of additional options to reduce lead levels and remediate the problem.
- Implement a water usage plan to safeguard against lead exposure. This program may include flushing faucets at sinks and/or water fountains and limiting water consumption for food and beverage preparation to cold-water faucets.
- Replace faucets or other drinking water outlets found to be above the action level for lead. Ensure the use of “lead-free” materials, including lead-free solders.
- Physically disconnect faucets or plumbing with high levels of lead.
- Replace lead pipes on school or childcare property.
- Reconfigure plumbing to bypass sources of lead contamination.
- Install a water-treatment system.
- Provide bottled water.
5. Share Results
All sampling results must be submitted to DDW by a certified laboratory. The facility must make results available to the public and notify parents, teachers, and employee organizations of the availability of results according to the following time frame:
- Results below 15 ppb: within 30 days of receipt
- Results greater than or equal to 15 ppb: within 14 days of receipt
Results must be made available on the facility’s website if it has one. A physical copy of results must be available for review in the administrative office of the building that was tested. Results will also be available on DDW’s WaterLink database.
6. Receive Reimbursement
Payment will be sent to the participant after DDW receives a reimbursement request. To request reimbursement, send the results and proof that the results were shared to DDWleadinwater@utah.gov.
Please note: DDW will reimburse participants up to the amount they were awarded when approved to participate. If a participant was approved to collect 20 samples but only collected 15, they will be reimbursed for the amount corresponding to 15 samples.