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 $5 million in General Fund revenues for the State Water Resources Control Board to provide lead testing of drinking water, remediation, and technical assistance for licensed child care centers. Although AB 2370 requires the lead testing to begin in 2020, this funding will pay for voluntary drinking water testing and remediation in 2018 and 2019.
In other legislative investments, California will provide $6.8 million in additional funding for the Drinking Water in Schools Grant Program (supplementing initial funding of $10 million), and provided $23.5 million General Fund for allocation to safe drinking water actions, including assistance for domestic well owners and funding to develop a needs assessment of the state’s 7,500 public water systems.
The Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, introduced by State Senator William Monning as SB 623 in 2017 and included in SB 844 and SB 845 late in 2018, did not move forward, but public commitments by Senator Monning and Assembly Speaker Rendon indicate that the bill will return in 2019.
Click here to read more about lead testing in childcare drinking water from Environmental Defense Fund.