School Water Lead Reduction & 3Ts


The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA) offers assistance to Tribal schools and child care facilities to protect children from exposure to lead that may be in drinking water.

Lead in drinking water is a national priority, and communities throughout the country are taking action to reduce waterborne lead exposure. Lead can leach into drinking water when a chemical reaction, known as corrosion, occurs in metal plumbing infrastructure and fixtures that contain lead. Children are more susceptible to the effects of lead, and there are no safe levels of lead exposure for children. Even at low levels, lead exposure in children can cause reduced IQ, learning disabilities, impaired growth, hearing loss, hyperactivity, reduced attention span, and poor classroom performance.

ITCA is providing the following services to help reduce lead in drinking water at Tribal schools and Tribal child care facilities located in the Southwest.

  • Training: ITCA Project staff are meeting with Tribal Leaders, Tribal school personnel, and Tribal communities to provide information and training about lead in drinking water and the 3Ts (training, testing, and taking action). Click here for more detailed information.
  • Testing: Through this project, ITCA is offering free testing of water from participating schools and child care facilities. Drinking water samples will be collected by ITCA and tested for lead by a certified laboratory. Click here for more detailed information.
  • Taking Action: If lead is measured above a specified level, ITCA will provide assistance with identifying sources, taking actions to help reduce lead levels, and opening communication with community stakeholders. Click here for more detailed information.

By participating and taking advantage of these free project services, Tribal schools, and child care facilities are able to act proactively and openly engage their community stakeholders in protecting the health of children from the potential harms of lead in drinking water.

Project Service Area

Schools and child care facilities on federal Tribal lands (Indian reservations) located in the Southwest, including California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and the Navajo Nation, are eligible to participate.

Service Area

Contact Information

For more information about the ITCA Lead Reduction training, testing, and taking action services, please contact the ITCA Lead Reduction Team.

Phone Number: (602) 258-4822
Fax: (602) 258-4825
Address: 2214 North Central Avenue, Suite 100, Phoenix, Arizona 85004

Diella Packman, Lead Reduction Project Manager
Phone: (602) 307-1543

Cameryn Harris, Lead Testing Specialist
Phone: (602) 307-1526

Lead is a naturally occurring element that is found in soil. People can be exposed to lead in the environment through natural and man-made routes. Due to many of lead’s properties, such as being malleable and inexpensive, it was ideal for use in plumbing infrastructure. For many decades, lead was used as a key material for plumbing infrastructure, such as pipes and fixtures, as well as in the solder that joined the pipes and fixtures. Today, lead is banned from use in new plumbing construction in the United States. However, existing older plumbing can contribute to elevated levels of lead in drinking water that passes through it.

According to both the EPA and the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), there is no safe level of lead for children. Lead accumulates in the body and directly impairs their development. Some health effects in children include:

  • Reduced attention span
  • Learning disabilities
  • Hyperactivity
  • Behavioral problems
  • Anemia
  • Impaired growth and hearing loss

For more information on lead in drinking water, please visit the following websites.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) developed the 3Ts (Training, Testing, and Taking Action) initiative to prepare schools and child care facilities to build a voluntary implementation program to reduce lead levels in drinking water. The USEPA’s 3Ts website ( provides numerous materials to assist with building and implementing a 3Ts program. These materials include an extensive 3Ts manual, Tool Kit, checklists, templates, training webinars, and numerous other helpful materials.


December 3, 2021
Contact: Maria Dadgar
(602) 258-4822

Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Receives EPA Grant to Help Tribal Communities Protect Children from Lead in Drinking Water

Phoenix, Arizona – December 3, 2021 – The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA), a consortium of 21 federally recognized Indian Tribes in Arizona, recently received a $1,581,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help protect children by identifying sources of lead in drinking water in schools or child care facilities. The funding will help protect children and helps advance the federal action plan to reduce childhood lead exposure. The ITCA project will serve schools or child care facilities at federally-recognized tribes located in New Mexico (in EPA Region 6), as well as those located in Arizona, California, Nevada, and the Navajo Nation (in EPA Region 9). The project will also build on previous lead-testing programs at Tribal schools in these areas.

“Water is sacred in all forms and especially with regard to the drinking water we provide to our children,” stated Maria Dadgar, Executive Director of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. “We look forward to working with Tribal schools and child care facilities to assist with developing programs for monitoring their facilities’ drinking water plumbing. This will include providing technical assistance to support addressing older plumbing fixtures and, in general, work toward improving the quality of their drinking water.”

The funding was awarded under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act for states, territories, and tribes to test for lead in schools and child care facilities. The Voluntary Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care Drinking Water grant program continues to help protect children’s health and make progress under the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures.

The grant supports EPA’s action plan for reducing lead in school drinking water—Training, Testing, and Taking Action, or the 3 Ts. This toolkit helps prepare schools, child care facilities, and grantees to build a voluntary implementation program to reduce lead levels in drinking water with detailed training modules and materials. Learn more about the 3 Ts here:

EPA’s Children’s Health program highlights how children can be more vulnerable to pollutants than adults, which can lead to greater exposure and/or unique windows of susceptibility during development. This is especially true of lead—an exposure that would have little effect on an adult can have a significant effect on a child. In fetuses, infants, and children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells. Lead in drinking water is one of the main ways children can be exposed to lead.

Learn more about and EPA’s WIIN grant programs at

Click here to download the full Press Release

On October 3, 2019, the USEPA announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further support efforts that reduce lead in drinking water at schools and child care facilities. The MOU provides a framework for a coordinated approach between more than a dozen critical partners across the federal government, tribes, water utilities, and the public health community. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA) is a committed member of the MOU partners.

The MOU can be found on the following USEPA webpage.

Funding Acknowledgement

Work of the ITCA Lead Reduction Project is supported by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) grant through the Lead Testing in Schools and Child Care Program Drinking Water Grant as authorized by the WIIN Act.