Lead is a potent neurotoxin that impairs how our children develop, learn, and behave. Yet, according totesting data from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), more than half of the 43,000 taps tested in 980 schools across Massachusetts tested positive for lead.
In January 2020, Massachusetts launched the School Water Improvement Grants (SWIG) program to protect children from exposure to lead in drinking water at schools and child care centers. The SWIG program, funded by the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust, is run by State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). While a statewide health based lead level standard for schools and childcare centers is needed to protect all children from lead in drinking water, the SWIG program offers an important tool in protecting children from lead in drinking water. Today, the program is available to public school districts, private schools and public and private early education facilities, and non-residential daycare facilities that have completed voluntary lead testing and reported their testing results to MassDEP’s Lead Contamination Control Act (LCCA) program. Facilities can apply for grants to replace drinking water fountains, (bubblers) that have tested positive for lead.
Since SWIG was launched in January 2020, they have granted $1,389,000to pay for the purchase and installation of 463 filtered water bottle filling stations in 48 school districts. For more information about the program and how to apply see (https://www.mass.gov/school-water-improvement-grants).
Download the report for more detail on the grants and school distircts.