2017 #COleg: Gov. Hickenlooper signs HB17-1306 (Test Lead In Public Schools’ Drinking Water)

Roman lead pipe — Photo via the Science Museum

From the Colorado General Assembly website:

Concerning the financing of testing for lead in public schools’ drinking water, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.

The bill directs the department of public health and environment (department) to establish a grant program to test for lead in public schools’ drinking water. The department will give the highest priority to the oldest public elementary schools, then the oldest public schools that are not elementary schools, and then all other public schools. The department may also consider ability to pay in administering the program. The department is directed to use its best efforts to complete all testing and analysis by June 30, 2020. The public school must provide at least 10% local matching funds and give the test results to its local public health agency, its supplier of water, its school board, and the department. The department may use up to $300,000 per year for 3 years for grants beginning on or after July 1, 2017, from the water quality improvement fund if there is money available after fully funding existing programs. The department shall provide 4 annual reports to the general assembly regarding implementation of the grant program, including any legislative proposals that may be warranted.

The bill appropriates $431,803 and 1.3 FTE to the department of public health and environment for the implementation of the act.

From The Denver Post (Monte Whaley):

House Bill 1306 received bipartisan backing and plenty of support from school and health officials. Lead in drinking water can lead to long-term health problems in children.

The measure is aimed primarily at older elementary schools with the hope that all public schools will be tested and the results analyzed by June 30, 2020. The bill authorizes the state Department of Public Health and Environment to establish a grant program to test the drinking water in public schools that use a public water system.

As much as $300,000 in grants could be awarded each year for three years, and another $140,000 would be spent to implement the program. The measure also requires school districts that test for lead to contribute 10 percent in local matching funds and give the test results to the local public health agency, water supplier, school board and CDPHE.

Just seven of Colorado’s 178 school districts have tested their water for lead, and in those districts 100 schools were found to have some lead in their water, health officials said.

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