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Proposed bill to test water in Colorado public schools advancing in state legislature

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Despite concerns that repair and cleanup costs would hurt already cash-strapped public schools, a bill  that aims to test the water supply of the aging Colorado public schools for lead over the next three years is advancing in the state legislature.

As The Denver Post reports, House Bill 1306 authorizes the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to establish a grant program to test for lead in drinking water in public schools that use public water systems. Up to $300,000 in grants could be used each year for three years and $140,000 would be spent to implement the program.

Older elementary schools would be tested first, then the oldest public schools that are not elementary schools and then all other public schools.

The measure also requires school districts to chip in 10 percent in local matching funds and give the test results to the local public health agency, water supplier, school board and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

If a school tests positive for lead, the school district or a local government will have to pay for cleanup costs.

HB 1306 passed the House Education Committee this week and is now at the House Appropriations Committee.