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DEQ urges schools to test for lead in drinking water

(Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is urging school districts and day care centers to test for lead in drinking water.

DEQ spokesperson Donna Kemp Spangler said because regular water testing isn’t required, many schools don’t prioritize it — especially because of the cost. The US Environmental Protection Agency granted over $450 thousand to have school’s water checked, which Kemp Spangler said she hopes eases the concerns of educators.

“In 2017, we encouraged all of the school districts to voluntarily test for lead based on the fact it hadn’t been done,” she said.

Those schools that volunteered to test for lead in drinking water in 2017 came back with low levels.

Environmental officials in Utah report there are no requirements for schools to have water tested for lead. Because of that, it’s hard to know if there’s a problem.

“Children are particularly vulnerable and we want to make sure children are protected when they’re in schools or day care facilities for any length of time,” Kemp Spangler said.

The Division of Drinking Water will give out the money based on the community’s financial need. Private schools will not be eligible to apply.

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