Housing and Urban Development building

Cwiertny Receives HUD Award to Assess Drinking Water for Lead


David Cwiertny, director of and senior research fellow in residence in the Environmental Policy Research Program, received a portion of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant, which awarded over $15 million to reduce housing-related health hazards and improve energy efficiency. The HUD award was given to 18 universities, public health, and housing organizations.

Cwiertny was awarded $700,000 to assess drinking water as a potential contributor of lead exposure, under the 2021 Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grant Awards. His study objectives are to:

  1. build an assessment tool using data from Flint, MI, such as a water lead risk score, to identify Flint homes that had a high risk of water-lead contamination;
  2. adapt and generalize the water lead risk assessment tool to be more widely applicable to other communities; and
  3. partner with public health agencies and grantees of HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes to further validate and promote using the water lead assessment tool to identify high-risk homes and residents, connect them to lead mitigation and public health promotion resources, and provide guidance on possible water-based intervention strategies. The second phase of the study will involve testing the tool using housing data in Iowa.

The awards were provided through HUD's Office of Lead Hazard Control and Health Homes (OLHCHH) to identify and improve methods for detecting and controlling lead and other housing-related health and safety hazards and will incorporate weaterization into residential lead and healthy homes interventions.

To read about the other studies awarded these HUD funds, click here.