The EPA’s previous Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) did not require specific testing and education programs by community water systems (CWSs) at the over 100,000 elementary and secondary schools and 800,000 child care facilities they serve unless they were one of the 7,800 public water systems that are themselves schools or child care facilities. Through the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), these much-needed samples will be required. EPA’s Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act has provided funding to all 50 states, the territories, and tribes to develop lead testing programs. As of November 2021, 41 states had stood up voluntary (23 states) or mandatory (18 states) lead testing programs, but only 15 have established dedicated funding to address lead exceedances. Under this proposal RCAP will reduce lead exposure for more than 16,000 students and staff across at least 54 different school and childcare facilities in 9 states. Of the 9 states RCAP is will support under this grant, only two (NH/VA) have dedicated funding for lead remediation in schools. Dedicated funding, though, does not mean that the problem has been solved.

Removing lead is especially important at these facilities because of the negative health impacts lead has on children. The Flint water crisis elevated the national conversation on lead, and the new LCRR requirements and other testing initiatives will continue to uncover many more lead exceedances across the US. Improving school and child care water access has the combined benefits of reducing lead exposure AND addressing other social determinants of health especially in rural, disadvantaged communities where resources and capacity are limited, and health inequities exist.

Whenever an issue arises, we know that RCAP is willing and able to assist us with whatever we need. They actually care about our city.

– Resident in Evarts Kentucky

Our Work

RCAP’s work under the WIIN Program aims to reduce lead exposure in drinking water in schools and child care facilities, focusing on rural and disadvantaged communities in at least nine states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. RCAP was awarded over $3 million in WIIN funding from the EPA to complete this work over four years that will impact more than 16,000 students and staff in at least 54 rural schools and childcare sites.The intended beneficiaries of this program include:

  • Staff and students/children of participating schools/childcare facilities.
  • State departments of health, departments of education, and drinking water regulatory authorities where the participating schools/childcare facilities are located.
  • Local public water systems serving the participating facility if applicable.

RCAP and four of its regional partners (Communities Unlimited (CU), Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP), RCAP Solutions (RSOL), and Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP) will collaborate with regulatory agencies, water system partners, and schools/childcare facilities to address identified lead challenges effectively. This program will address lead exposure through comphrensive site assessments, remediation plans, and the installation of water bottle filling stations, Point of Use filters, and other lead mitigation solutions. This new program is an expansion of RCAP’s Agua4All program, but it addresses lead specifically.

You can find more information on RCAP’s Agua4All program here.

Want WIIN In Your School?

Contact the RCAP WIIN Program Manager for more information:

Ami Keiffer: [email protected].