On Wednesday Vermont’s Legislature passed S. 40, a landmark bill regulating lead in school and childcare center drinking water.
After some tense debate between legislators in the House and Senate, a conference committee reached a final decision to set the action level for remediation at 4 parts per billion. They also pledged to set aside $3 million to cover testing costs and assist schools and child care centers with remediation. Under the law, testing must be completed statewide by December 31, 2020.
Environmental advocates, including VPIRG, had originally pushed for the action level to be set at 1 part per billion, in keeping with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Even so, the bill is being heralded as an important victory. “This law puts Vermont ahead of every other state in protecting our kids from being poisoned,” said Jen Duggan, Vice President and Director of CLF Vermont.
The legislation was originally introduced after a statewide testing pilot program found elevated lead levels in the water at several Vermont schools.
Lauren Hierl, Executive Director of Vermont Conservation Voters, added “We thank the Vermont Legislature for enacting a nation-leading bill to protect our children from lead poisoning while at school or a child care facility. Preventing lead exposure is a huge public health win for our children and our state.”
The bill now awaits a signature from Gov. Phil Scott – VPIRG, along with our members and allies encourage the governor to waste no time in enacting this important law.