Vermont Governor Signs Nation’s Strongest Lead in Drinking Water Law

Law mandates testing and remediation in schools and child care centers

Photo: Littlekidmoment via Shutterstock

June 17, 2019 (MONTPELIER, VT) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) released the following statement today after Vermont’s governor signed the strongest law in the country regulating lead in school and childcare center drinking water.

“Our children deserve to go to school or daycare without being poisoned by lead lurking in water fountains,” said Jen Duggan, Vice President and Director of CLF Vermont. “The only safe level of lead is zero, and Vermont is leading the nation in making sure that the health of our children comes first.”

The law sets the action level for lead remediation at 4 parts per billion at all public and private schools and childcare centers, and it sets a December 31, 2020 deadline for Vermont to complete initial testing at these locations statewide. The law requires schools to sample all faucets used for cooking and drinking using a stringent testing protocol on a regular basis.  It also includes $3 million to cover the costs of testing and to help schools and child care centers clean up lead.

“There’s really only one kind of water we should be giving our kids in schools and child care centers, and that’s unleaded,” said Paul Burns, Executive Director of VPIRG. “This new law moves us much closer to that goal.”

CLF has been pushing for stronger lead testing requirements throughout New England in recent months. In September, CLF, VPIRG and others urged school organizations and state officials to protect children from lead in school drinking water. You can read more about CLFs’ efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning here.

CLF experts are available for further comment.