School Districts still eligible for millions in drinking water grants

By on October 27, 2018
Grant addresses water quality

More than 300 school districts and individual schools serving low-income communities throughout California are eligible to apply for $9.5 million worth of grants to increase access to safe drinking water.

The grants are available for a range of projects, but the schools and school districts confronting issues related to lead and other contaminants in water must act quickly to claim the money through a statewide grant program administered by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The testing for lead in drinking water at all K-12 schools must be completed by July 1, 2019. Enforcement actions will be issued to schools that have not completed testing by the deadline.

Possible projects that qualify for grants are:

  • new or replacement water bottle filling stations or drinking fountains;
  • new point-of-entry or point-of-use water treatment devices;
  • repair or replacement of drinking water and plumbing fixtures to resolve lead contamination issues.

The program also allows for funding interim solutions – including bottled water or hauled water – while more comprehensive, long-term drinking water projects are being completed.

Eligible schools and school districts are encouraged to submit applications soon as the deadline is five months away.

“We are aware that 40 school districts have submitted or are working on applications. However, there are more than 300 that are eligible for these grant funds,” said Kim Hanagan, a State Water Board engineer who is overseeing the program. “We’d like to hear from them soon so we can help them meet the March 1, 2019 application deadline. Interested districts are encouraged to begin the application process now.”

The individual grants are significant and are available for everything from a single school to an entire school district.

  • Minimum grant amount is $25,000 per applicant
  • Maximum grant amount is $100,000 per school, and $1 million per eligible district or county office
  • There is no match requirement for the grant

Technical assistance is available for schools or districts without engineering and design expertise and serving a population of 20,000 or less.

For information about the program, technical assistance or to view a list of preliminary award projects, see the web page here: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/grants_loans/schools/