October 4, 2018

To assist schools and child care facilities in ensuring the safety of their drinking water, the Environmental Protection Agency has released an updated 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water toolkit.

The online toolkit is organized into seven modules and includes customizable templates, and checklists and other tools to help schools and child care facilities to develop and implement a lead testing program. EPA is hosting a webinar on October 25 to introduce the new toolkit. Click here to register.

Additional toolkit features:

October 2, 2018

The recent passage of Assembly Bill 2370 marks another step ahead for Californians’ drinking water, making it the eighth state in nation to call statewide attention to childcare drinking water safety.

The bill, authored by Assemblymembers Chris Holden and Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, and sponsored by the Environmental Working Group, is aimed at reducing lead exposure in drinking water in California licensed childcare centers. One in seven people in the U.S. live in California and 70 percent of children in licensed care go to licensed childcare centers.

AB 2370 requires a licensed child day care center that is located in a building that was constructed before January 1, 2010 to have its drinking water tested for lead contamination levels on a specified schedule. It also requires centers to notify parents or legal guardians of children enrolled in the day care center of the requirement to test the drinking water and the results of the test.

California made a legislative investment of...

September 13, 2018

Building on a statewide program to test school drinking water for lead, the Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Network (BANPAC) supported 11 San Francisco Bay Area schools in testing and promoting drinking water last school year.

The Drinking Water Promotion Project (DWAPP) piloted an innovative model that convened a committee of water experts, including researchers and representatives from local water utilities, health departments, and non-profits, to develop a systematic approach for drinking water testing and promotion.

School champions, primarily teachers who serve on the school wellness committee, were recruited at 11 schools throughout the Bay Area. The DWAPP program coordinator provided each school champion with a water promotion plan, package of ready-to-use materials, and a small amount of funding to support water promotion efforts. School champions selected activities that matched their school’s needs and interests. Activities included poster and water bottle log...

August 14, 2018

Excellent access to drinking water in schools encourages the consumption of drinking water over sugar-sweetened beverages, which offers a host of benefits, including physical health and mental function. California enacted legislation in 2010 which required the provision of free drinking water in food service areas during meal times in public schools. A new policy brief from California Food Policy Advocates summarizes how drinking water access in California public schools has changed since 2010 and proposes additional policy recommendations to make drinking water accessible and safe in our schools.

There have been marked improvements in drinking water access in California public schools, including:

  • Increases in the number of water sources per number of students

  • Improvements in schools providing access to water in key locations, including outdoor physical activity areas, food services areas and temporary structures

  • Increased share of schools providing non-fountain dr...

August 7, 2018

Community members and advocates are uniting to help catalyze healthy living across the Navajo Nation, including passing healthy food and beverage policies, promoting healthy beverages with “water champions” and increasing water options at small grocery stores. All of the projects are part of the Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE) organization’s drive to increase access to and consumption of safe drinking water among Navajo children. Working with families, Head Start Program staff, community health representatives, Navajo Chapter House leaders and tribal leaders, COPE hopes to empower Navajo families and their children to shift toward healthier, available choices.

Healthy Food & Beverage Policies:

With the successful passage of a healthy food and beverage policy resolution by five tribal councils, COPE is piloting the policies at three early childhood programs, including Red Mesa Head Start, Teec Nos Pos FACE, and Beclabito FACE. Based on the results of the pilots,...

July 27, 2018

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigates current school practices for lead testing and remediation in drinking water.

In the GAO’s stratified, random sample of 549 school districts in the U.S., 43% of districts surveyed indicated they had tested for lead in school drinking water. Of the school districts that tested, 37% found elevated lead levels. School districts undertook a variety of actions to remediate lead in school drinking water, including replacing fixtures, permanently removing fixtures from service, flushing and installing filters.

The report also details existing state-level efforts to require schools to test for lead in drinking water or provide school districts with funding or other support for testing and remediation. The GAO looked at existing guidance from the EPA and how familiar school districts around the country are with these guidelines.

The report detailed seven recommendations for the federal government, including providing...

Discusses the importance of providing access to safe, quality drinking water in schools; the current state of tap water in schools; and what steps can be taken to improve drinking water quality and encourage healthy hydration habits.

January 8, 2018

Building on nearly a year of community listening and behavior assessment in tribal communities the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation’s Water First! Learning Community cohort met for the fourth time last fall to share action plans to reduce sugary drink intake and increase safe drinking water consumption and/or promote breastfeeding.

The NB3 Foundation has awarded grants to eight tribes and Native-led organizations in Arizona and New Mexico. Each grant provides financial support and regular cohort meetings, which are intended to provide a learning community that allows grantees to support each project with feedback and resources.

The grantees focused on brainstorming and sharing ideas on their respective projects during the Arizona meeting. Grantees shared plans to install hydration stations in schools and parks, develop and disseminate culturally-relevant educational materials, engage youth as water champions, and more. Click to read about all the projects. The cohort will meet a...