Mountain View, California ââ Today, Google.org announced $ 3 million in grants to BlueConduit Charitable fund, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and WE ACT for environmental justice to support the equitable replacement of lead service lines.
The grants will fund the development of BlueConduit’s open source machine learning technologies, which will allow cities of all sizes to quantify and map their inventory of major service lines and help municipalities estimate the cost of replacing this component. dangerous for the health of our hydraulic infrastructure. The tool will also allow water utilities to create public-facing maps that aim to strengthen public communication and meet upcoming US EPA Revised Lead and Copper Rule requirements. The initial software will be available in the first half of 2022. BlueConduit, WE ACT and NRDC will work closely with community groups and municipal utilities to ensure that the tools are designed to meet their needs.
âThe enormous uncertainty surrounding fundamental questions such as, ‘How many main service lines do we have in our community? “Is both expensive and dangerous,” said Eric Schwartz, co-founder of BlueConduit and associate professor of marketing at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. “By providing these free tools and services and bringing these partners together, we aim to empower communities and water supply systems nationwide to effectively replace these pipes, reducing the time people live with them.” lead and generate more equitable results for communities across the country. ”
âLead service lines are a scourge that threatens the health of families in all states. This project will help residents understand the extent of the problem in their community and advocate for a fair program to replace these lead pipes. No one should have to worry about the water running from their kitchen faucet contaminating their children with lead, âsaid Erik D. Olson, senior strategic director for health and food at NRDC.
Service lines are pipes that connect water lines to single-family homes. An NRDC investigation estimated that lead service lines carry potable water to 9 to 12 million homes in the United States. Lead is a metal that can be harmful to human health even at low levels of exposure, and low-income communities and communities of color bear a disproportionate burden of lead poisoning. For many communities, information on the number and location of lead service lines in their water systems is limited and not publicly available. This makes it difficult for residents to understand their potential risk and for cities to budget for sanitation costs, which can delay pipe replacement. In addition, this type of information is necessary for communities seeking to access federal funds.
“Even though lead poisoning is completely preventable, it remains a deadly threat to many black communities, with studies showing that black children living below the poverty line are twice as likely to suffer from lead poisoning than poor white children, âsaid Peggy Shepard, Co. -Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. âWe look forward to working with BlueConduit, Google.org and NRDC on this project to help local organizations identify and advocate for the remediation of lead pipe infrastructure that contaminates drinking water in their local communities. “
âAt Google.org, we believe that when technology, innovation and community expertise come together, we can make great strides in effectively addressing some of our most pressing and complex challenges. And contamination. lead from our drinking water is certainly one of them, “said Brigitte Gosselink, Director of Product Impact at Google.org.” We look forward to working with BlueConduit, WE ACT and NRDC to bring this amazing work to fruition. important. “
The funding supports working with WE ACT, with input from the NRDC, to fund local community groups in three selected cities to facilitate increased awareness and education regarding the replacement of service lines. WE ACT will administer the funding and provide advice and training to local organizations to support community engagement, education, and the identification and elimination of lead-in-water hazards in their communities. The NRDC will assist the project and the local partners with the technical, legal and political elements and will co-organize the partnership alongside WE ACT. BlueConduit will work with the water service in each of the cities to support the development of their inventory of service lines.
The grants build on Google.org’s previous efforts to combat the harmful effects of lead in the community’s water supply. In 2016, volunteers from Google.org and a team from the University of Michigan began collaborating on a project to communicate water quality information to residents of Flint. The team’s work evolved into predictive modeling to locate major service lines, which guided the city’s sanitation efforts. This team then formed BlueConduit to bring their technology to more cities and, together with NRDC, created FlintPipeMap.org, an interactive map that uses machine learning to give residents information about lead in their pipes. water.
Google.org, the philanthropy of Google, supports nonprofits that tackle humanitarian problems and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solve the world’s greatest challenges. We accelerate their progress by connecting them with a unique blend of support including funding, products and the technical expertise of Google volunteers. We engage with those believers-turned-actors who have a significant impact on the communities they represent and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a world that works for everyone and we believe technology and innovation can make a difference.
BlueConduit Charitable Fund receives funding for this project. BlueConduit Charitable Fund is a tax sponsored project of the Windward Fund and contracts with BlueConduit to carry out its charitable work. BlueConduit is a water testing company that has developed advanced predictive machine learning methods to locate major service lines, giving local authorities the information needed to effectively remove these pipes. Our model allows utilities to focus their resources on excavation where the lead lies and accelerate the elimination of this important health problem and save millions of dollars in avoided excavations. Since 2016, we have worked with more than 50 municipalities and identified nearly 1 million service lines, which serve more than 2 million people. Visit us on BlueConduit.com and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.
About WE ACT
WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a North Manhattan member-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and / or low-income residents are meaningfully involved in the creation of sound and fair health and environmental policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, DC Visit us on weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About the NRDC
The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international non-profit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.