BOSTON -- In public comments submitted today, Environment America and 62 other organizations urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dramatically strengthen its proposed update to the Lead and Copper Rule, which is the federal regulation that is supposed to keep lead out of our drinking water. The groups’ primary recommendation - full removal of all lead service lines within 10 years - echoed the demands made in comments submitted by more than 18,000 individuals from across the country.
John Rumpler, clean water program director for Environment America, made the following statement:
"We now face a national epidemic of lead-contaminated drinking water. But instead of taking decisive action, the EPA’s proposed update to the Lead and Copper Rule fails to ‘get the lead out’ of our nation’s drinking water.
“Chief among the rule’s shortcomings is its failure to require the full replacement of all lead service lines as soon as possible. These toxic pipes remain the single greatest source of lead in drinking water at millions of homes, child care centers and other locations. Instead of mandating the full replacement of all lead service lines within 10 years or less, the EPA’s proposed rule actually slows the pace of removing these toxic pipes.
“The proposed update also fails to set an enforceable, health-based limit on lead in our water, even though we know that lead harms children even at low levels.
“If all that wasn’t bad enough, the rule has no requirements to ‘get the lead out’ of schools. Our research shows that even though lead contaminates the drinking water in many schools, states are still failing to require action to correct it. But rather than creating a framework for the proactive removal of lead-bearing faucets and fountains and the installation of filters, this proposed rule only requires limited and infrequent testing at schools.
“Removing lead from our water systems will take an unprecedented national commitment and an estimated $45 billion just to replace lead service lines. However, instead of ramping up investment to get the lead out, the Trump administration’s new budget would slash the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund by nearly $283 million.
“This is unacceptable. Our children’s health demands policy and funding that will ensure safe drinking water.”