Governor signs into law Millett bill to ensure safe drinking water in Maine schools

Posted: May 30, 2019 | Senator Millett

AUGUSTA — Gov. Janet Mills signed into a law a bill from Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, that would help ensure safe drinking water in schools. LD 153, “An Act To Strengthen Testing for Lead in School Drinking Water,” which received unanimous, bipartisan support in the Legislature, was signed on Tuesday.

“Lead contamination in drinking water — whether it’s from the water source itself or from old plumbing — can cause serious, lasting harm to young bodies,” said Sen. Millett, who serves as chair of the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. “This law will help make sure our children enjoy safe, healthy environments where they can learn and grow.”

Currently, only schools that are on well water are required to test for lead contamination in drinking and cooking water. Sen. Millett’s bill requires all schools to test for lead contamination in drinking and cooking water to the extent that the Department of Health and Human Services can provide necessary funds and resources to the school for the testing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, children who are exposed to lead can suffer damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems.

The law will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.