Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Laurie Stevenson announced today that a new H2Ohio project will target aging lead pipes at daycare facilities in Cleveland.
H2Ohio is awarding the city a $500,000 grant for the removal and replacement of city-owned lead service lines that supply water to daycares. The Cleveland Water Department estimates that more than 440 area daycare centers are connected to lead pipes.
“We must be aggressive about protecting Ohio’s children from toxic lead in drinking water, and the best way to do that is to remove the pipes,” said Governor DeWine. “Kids under the age of three are at the greatest risk for lead poisoning, and by prioritizing the replacement of lead service lines at daycares, we’re protecting our most vulnerable from the potential for long-term side effects.”
This project is the second H2Ohio lead pipe removal project targeting daycares. In 2020, a similar H2Ohio project launched in Cincinnati to remove and replace lead services lines leading to nearly 200 daycare facilities.
“Addressing lead service lines is a key focus under the H2Ohio initiative,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson. “Every Ohioan deserves to be protected from environmental and health hazards in drinking water, especially our most vulnerable.”
Lead enters drinking water primarily through the corrosion of materials containing lead in water lines and household plumbing. Though lead in water is not usually the cause of childhood lead poisoning cases in Ohio, even small amounts of lead can cause learning and behavior problems in children. According to the Ohio Department of Health, lead replaces iron and calcium and affects many parts of the body, especially the nervous system.
Lead is most harmful to children under the age of six, because a child’s growing body takes up lead easily. Infants who drink formula prepared with lead‐contaminated water are highly at risk because their brains are rapidly developing and because they consume large volumes of formula relative to their body size. Even at low levels, lead can lower IQ, cause attention disorders, make it difficult for a child to pay attention in school, delay growth, impair hearing, and more.
Governor DeWine launched H2Ohio in 2019 as a water quality initiative to provide clean and safe water to Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and Ohio Lake Erie Commission each have a significant role in H2Ohio through the creation of wetlands, the reduction in nutrient runoff, and the improvement of drinking water and sewer systems. To learn more, visit h2.ohio.gov.