On April 29, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an approximately $87 million grant under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act to improve lead in drinking water in schools and disadvantaged communities. EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler is quoted as saying, “EPA is committed to ensuring all Americans, regardless of their zip code, have access to safe and clean drinking water.” Specifically, states, tribes, and U.S. territories are eligible to receive funds from the following two new EPA drinking water grant programs established by the WIIN Act. Additional information about WIIN Grant Programs can be found on EPA’s website HERE.
- Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care Grant Program. Under this program, EPA will award $43.7 million in grants to fund testing for lead in drinking water at schools and child care programs.
- Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Grant Program. Under this program, EPA will award $42.8 million in grants to support underserved communities to help their drinking water systems attain Safe Drinking Water Act compliance. Funding can also be used for conducting household water quality testing, including testing for unregulated contaminants.
EPA is expected to announce funding details in the summer of 2019 for WIIN’s third newly-created grant program dedicated to reducing lead in drinking water systems. Separately, on April 26, 2019, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) unveiled an environmental justice proposal, saying, “The Trump administration has gutted the EPA, rolled back clean air and clean water protections, and allowed polluters to go unchecked, causing immense harm and suffering by vulnerable communities.” Sen. Booker went on to say environmental inequality is a key civil rights issue.