- A complete failure to appropriately address lead service lines (LSLs). These toxic pipes remain the single greatest source of lead contamination of water at millions of homes, child care centers, and other places. A robust rule would order full replacement of all these toxic pipes within 10 years or less. Instead, the EPA would require an inventory of LSLs. And while current law requires water utilities out of compliance to remove lead service lines at a rate of 7 percent a year, the proposed rule would slow that pace to 3 percent per year.
- Standards that are not health-based. Health experts say that there is no safe level of lead in water. So while creating a warning threshold for lead of 10 parts per billion (ppb) is a step in the right direction, it is nowhere near the 1 ppb limit that pediatricians are urging schools to adopt, or even the 5 ppb standard that the FDA has set for bottled water.
- 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. Safeguarding water at our kids’ schools and child care centers will require pro-actively replacing lead-laden faucets and fountains and installing filters certified to remove lead. Yet the proposed rule only requires limited and infrequent testing at schools that is unlikely to consistently detect contamination.
“The EPA’s proposed update of the lead and copper rule lacks the robust measures needed to get the lead out,” concluded Wisconsin Environment’s Megan Severson. “But there’s lots that our leaders can do right now to help get the lead out. The state legislature should pass SB423 and 424. And the EPA should listen carefully to public comments and seize this once in a generation opportunity to strengthen its rule and secure safe drinking water for all Americans.”