Jackson bill protecting children from lead contamination heads to governor to be signed into law

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Carolyn B. Jackson (D-Hammond) today concurred on her bill that would mandate schools statewide to test their waters for lead contamination.

House Enrolled Act 1265 requires testing for lead in the drinking water of every school in the state before January 2023. The state of Indiana has received a grant from the U.S. Environment Department, which will cover the costs of lead testing. This testing requirement would be satisfied, however, if the facility already has tested for compliance with federal water standards since 2016.

“I’m pleased with the work we’ve been able to accomplish this session,” Jackson said. “This is a wonderful first step to tackling an issue I hope we can continue to work on next year.”

According to the bill, if it is found that there is a presence of lead that is equal to or greater than the federal action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb), then the operators of that facility must take steps to correct the matter and reduce that number to safer levels.

“In recent times, there has been increased awareness of the problems being caused by disrepair and old age in these schools,” Jackson added. “There have been problems in both Hammond and East Chicago, and I am sure that is only the tip of the iceberg.”

Due to the heavy industrial presence in Lake County, an amendment was successfully added requiring all schools in Lake County to be tested at least once every two years for the existence of more than 15 ppb of lead.

“As a representative of Lake County, it’s vital that we do something now to protect the children who are at risk in my community,” Jackson continued. “I will keep prioritizing their health, and the health of all Hoosier kids, until they have access to the cleanest water possible.”

House Enrolled Act 1265 now makes its way to the governor’s desk for final approval.

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