BOSTON, MA – Clean Water Fund announced today that they have received a $99,659 award from the Environmental Protection Agency to fund their work partnering with local community groups to identify lead service lines, help impacted residents access lead service line replacement programs, and educate community members about how to mitigate exposure to lead in drinking water. Clean Water Fund has already been working on the ground in Malden and Chelsea with local government and grassroots organizations helping these communities access funding for complete lead service line replacements and piloting different forms of resident engagement including door to door canvassing, meetings, and webinars. This award will help fund this program’s expansion into other Massachusetts communities to ensure that every family has access to drinking water free of toxic lead contamination.
“We are grateful to have been chosen to receive this award and excited to get to work with our local partners. Right now, there is federal money available to finally remove dangerous lead service lines that are still contaminating the drinking water of families across the state. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get the lead out of drinking water, but the overlapping burdens of poverty, mixed immigration status, environmental racism, and language isolation in EJ communities creates the risk that some households will still be left behind, which is a major equity issue,” said Maureo Fernández y Mora, Clean Water Fund’s Massachusetts Associate State Director. “We know from our existing efforts in Malden and Chelsea that many households with lead service lines were unaware of this potential exposure and that, further, many lead service lines have yet to even be identified. There is a clear need for continued public outreach in partnership with community organizations who can reach underserved populations so that we can guarantee that this money goes to the communities that need it most. Everyone should have the right to clean drinking water, regardless of their zip code.”
Clean Water Fund will be continuing existing partnerships with local organizations including GreenRoots, who received a subgrant.
"Residents should not be facing the impacts of historical environmental burdens, such as poor water quality because of lead pipes. Our goals are to educate residents on hazards of lead exposure, and remove their lead pipes,” said Layne Benton, Lead Environmental Justice Organizer at GreenRoots.
"Getting the message out in the various languages of our EJ community members is key. This funding will further our efforts to spread awareness widely," said Erga Pierrette, LCSW, Co-Chair of NAACP Mystic Valley Chapter’s Environmental Justice Committee.
The award will support a two year program that will expand into additional communities with a focus on childcare providers.
“There is an urgency to this project. There is no safe level of lead exposure in young children. We want lead service lines removed as quickly as we can identify them, but before they are removed, we can educate households and childcare centers on the mitigation steps they can take immediately to reduce young children’s exposure to lead,” added Clean Water Fund’s Fernández y Mora.
Clean Water Action has worked since our founding in 1972 to pass the landmark Clean Water Act to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. Our mission is to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life. Clean Water Action organizes strong grassroots groups and coalitions, and campaigns to elect environmental candidates and to solve environmental and community problems. Visit us at www.cleanwater.org.