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Midwest Cities Looking at Options to Get the Lead Out

As federal and state regulators work on new rules to strengthen lead standards, cities across the Midwest are pushing to increase protections for their drinking water from lead contamination, reports Bloomberg BNA.

Lead service lines have been prohibited since the Safe Drinking Water Act took effect in June 1986, but there are still many lead service lines in use.

“Our estimate is that between 15 million and 22 million people drink water that comes through lead pipes,” Rob Moore, Natural Resources Defense Council senior policy analyst, told Bloomberg BNA. “And of those 15 million to 20 million people who are potentially exposed, it’s a vanishing percentage that have any idea they are drinking water that has gone through a lead pipe that potentially exposes them and their children to lead.”

The issue received national attention after the widespread contamination in Flint, Michigan. Now the question for many cities is how to pay for replacing their aging infrastructure, as the cost will likely be billions per state.

“It’s not going to be something that’s fixed overnight. Even a fairly gallant effort across the nation would take a decade or more,” Bryce Feighner, Michigan Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division director, told Bloomberg BNA.

Raising taxes, selling municipal bonds, and obtaining state or federal low-interest loans or outright grants and other awards are other tools cities have at their disposal. Ratepayers may also be expected to foot the bill.

The EPA is currently working on revising its Lead and Copper Rule and is expected to tighten the standard later this year.

Read the full article here: https://www.bna.com/getting-lead-midwest-n57982085862/



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