Today, Governor Charlie Baker and State Treasurer Deb Goldberg announced an additional $750,000 from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (MCWT), enabling cooperative efforts to test for lead and copper within Massachusetts public schools. Additionally, the funds, which come on the heels of an April 2016\u00a0announcement\u00a0that awarded $2 million for the program, allows the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to provide technical assistance for public school districts to sample water taps and fountains, and to identify results that indicate lead contamination over the federal action level.\n\n\u201cEnsuring every water tap and fountain is properly tested expeditiously is an important priority for our administration, the more than 900 schools, and the thousands of students attending them,\u201d\u00a0said Governor Charlie Baker. \u201cMaking these critical funds available through the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust is an important tool for providing students everywhere with access to safe drinking water in their schools.\u201d\n\n\u201cThese additional funds allow for us to test more schools across the Commonwealth,\u201d\u00a0said Treasurer Goldberg, Chair of the MCWT. \u201cBy leveraging our money and expertise we will ensure that our children are drinking safe and clean water.\u201d\n\n\u201cIt is incredibly important that every school district throughout Massachusetts has safe drinking water for the Commonwealth\u2019s students,\u201d\u00a0said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. \u201cIn the past three months, the Commonwealth and local school districts have worked together to collect hundreds of water samples, and this new funding will go a long way in protecting water quality within our schools.\u201d\n\nThe funding from the MCWT, which launched the assistance program last spring, provides for sampling to confirm drinking water levels are below action levels in public school water fountains and fixtures used for food preparation, and is utilized for the training of school personnel to assist in designing sampling plans.\n\n\u201cTo date, approximately 26,000 water samples have been collected and analyzed at local schools throughout the Commonwealth,\u201d\u00a0said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.\u00a0\u201cThe additional funding from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust underscores the Baker-Polito Administration\u2019s commitment to ensuring safe drinking water remains available to all of the Commonwealth\u2019s students.\u201d\n\n\u201cThe Trust\u2019s vote to provide additional funds for our cities and towns to test their school\u2019s district\u2019s water quality is another example of the Baker-Polito Administration\u2019s commitment to working as partners with our municipalities to provide vital services to Massachusetts residents,\u201d\u00a0said Kristen Lepore, Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, who is also a member of the Clean Water Trust Board of Directors.\n\n\u201cWe encourage our school districts to take advantage of these additional resources and thank all the partners who have come together to support the safety and health of our Commonwealth\u2019s students,\u201d\u00a0said Education Secretary Jim Peyser.\n\nWorking with technical assistance contractors from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the MassDEP has completed sampling of 451 school buildings in 90 communities. Furthermore, another 21 school facilities in six additional communities are scheduled to be sampled over the next two weeks.\n\nOf the 25,900 samples secured thus far, 164 school buildings have had one or more exceedances of the lead action level, while 76 school buildings have had one or more exceedance of the copper action level. A total of 73 school buildings have had no exceedance for either lead or copper. Information pertaining to school building water taps and fountain sample results reported to date can be found\u00a0here.\n\n\u201cWe are pleased with the participation of the schools, and as a result, have found many more taps to test,\u201d\u00a0said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg, who is also a member of the MCWT Board of Trustees. \u201cWhen schools identify problem fixtures, they are quickly taking steps to fix the problem and providing timely updates to their students, families, staff and community.\u201d\n\nThe Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) has also provided assistance to schools in their Greater Boston service area. Utilizing the MWRA\u2019s own lab, they have analyzed more than 7,000 water samples from 240 school buildings since spring 2016. This analysis has included thousands of water samples from schools participating in the Commonwealth\u2019s program.\n\n\u201cWe are collaborating closely with MassDEP on this testing program. It is critical to ensuring the health and safety of our children,\u201d\u00a0said MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey\n\nThe water sampling and technical assistance for all 930 school buildings enrolled in the program is expected to be completed by January 2017. Water supplied to schools is generally free of lead, but lead can be introduced into drinking water through plumbing and fixtures in buildings \u2013 especially in facilities more than 20 years old. The assistance program also addresses copper, which can also enter drinking water through plumbing.\n\nHistorically, the majority of lead poisoning cases in Massachusetts are attributable to lead paint exposures; however, other sources including drinking water in schools continue to be an important concern for a child\u2019s health. Additional information on lead in drinking water and school-related issues can be found on the MassDEP\u2019s \u201cLead in Drinking Water\u201d\u00a0webpage.\n\nThe Massachusetts Clean Water Trust lends financial assistance to the Commonwealth under the State Revolving Fund program by providing subsidized loans to cities and towns for clean water and drinking water infrastructure development. Since its establishment in 1989, the Trust has loaned more than $6.6 billion to improve and maintain the quality of water in the Commonwealth. An estimated 97 percent of Massachusetts\u2019 citizens have benefited from the financial assistance of the Clean Water Trust.