The Iowa Department of Education has funding available through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation to assist child care centers and public schools who want to begin a process to voluntarily test drinking water fixtures for lead.
The grant program is designed to test for lead in drinking water at facilities housing young children, who are more vulnerable to lead exposure.
“Grant funding is used to supplement and enhance existing resources,” said Lyn Jenkins, a consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. “We encourage qualifying schools or child care sites to apply for the grants.”
Jenkins said priority funding goes to sites serving students 6 and under, for buildings built before 1985 and for schools that have at least 50 percent of the student population qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches.
“But even if a site doesn’t fall within the priority, they should still apply,” she said.
Costs for testing sites at schools and child care centers can quickly mount.
The grant covers the cost of testing a minimum of two drinking water outlets for each child care site and three for each school building. Each test kit averages $40 plus mailing costs.