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AUSTIN– With the bipartisan infrastructure bill now signed into law, TexPIRG Education Fund and Environment Texas Research & Policy Center released a new toolkit for parents and community leaders on Tuesday on how to get the lead out of schools’ drinking water. The infrastructure bill includes $200 million for schools to conduct lead reduction efforts.
“Ensuring safe drinking water at school is not always an easy homework assignment,” said Claire Ganschow, TexPIRG’s Get The Lead Out campaign coordinator. “Our toolkit will help parents work with their school officials to get the lead out.”
Lead is a major threat to childrens’ health, and it is contaminating drinking water at 71% of Texas schools which have done testing. Schools can start getting the lead out of their water by replacing fountains with water bottle stations that have filters certified to remove lead. In addition to direct lead remediation funding from the infrastructure bill, schools have broad discretion on how to spend nearly $110 billion in federal stimulus from the American Rescue Plan passed in March. Installing these filtered hydration stations would only cost a fraction of the funds school districts are receiving.
In addition to highlighting these new federal funding sources, the toolkit includes facts and resources about lead contamination, a short educational video, and sample call-to-action materials.
“Parents know their kids need safe drinking water at school, where they go to learn and play each day,” said Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger. “But what they might not realize is that new funding is available to school districts to stop lead from contaminating water at school.”
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