EPA urged to require replacement of lead service lines

Ground Water Canada
March 09, 2018
By Ground Water Canada
Washington, DC – This week, during the comment period for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s re-evaluation of its Lead and Copper Rule, two congresswomen encouraged EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to overhaul the regulation to require full replacement of all lead service lines nationwide.

Representatives Gwen Moore of Wisconsin and Louise Slaughter of New York are also requesting the rule be updated to enforce fair and unbiased testing methods that cannot be circumvented to better protect the health of all Americans. Although lead pipes were banned 30 years ago, there are still an estimated 3.3 to 10 million still in service today, according to a statement from Congresswoman Moore's office.

“It is outrageous that in the United States, 5,300 communities nationwide, including Milwaukee, have water systems in violation of the existing LCR,” Congresswoman Moore said. “Considering the health and safety of our children is on the line, it should not be a matter of debate that lead service laterals be replaced.”

“The citizens of Flint, Michigan, became the poster children of what is actually a nation-wide crisis, and according to the current LCR, they weren’t even in violation of the current rule,” Moore and Slaughter wrote. “Federal investment in water infrastructure is needed to truly address this burgeoning problem. Unfortunately, the severe cuts to EPA’s budget, called for in the President’s Budget Request for both FY2018 and FY2019, will only exacerbate the problem. These budget requests not only ignore critical infrastructure needs, but will likely adversely affect monitoring and staffing as well. Water is a human necessity. Access to safe, clean drinking water should not be defined by the zip code a child grows up in.”

The release cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that indicate there are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above five micrograms per decilitre, the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated; however, no safe blood lead level in children has been identified. 

Congresswomen Slaughter and Moore’s letter is available here.

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