Clean Water Action was in attendance for the first White House summit devoted to accelerating lead service line replacement in drinking water systems, held January 27 in Washington DC. I was honored to represent the organization at this event, which marks not a culmination of our work to get lead out of drinking water, but an important milestone nonetheless. We are active on numerous fronts to eliminate the health risks of lead in drinking water. We’re pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen further the Safe Drinking Water Act regulations we have worked on for years. We’re also working at the state and local level to get the lead service lines and other lead connectors and parts out of the distribution systems that bring water into people’s homes and buildings. In 2016, Clean Water Action also helped found the Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative to foster creative alliance among many different kinds of organizations to put lead service lines behind us.
The White House summit, convened by Vice President Harris, included Mayors, water system representatives, state and county officials, and public health and environmental organizations. It was a notable reflection of the Biden Administration’s commitment to reduce lead exposure from all sources and to getting sources of lead out of drinking water systems. It was also a very public and high-level demonstration of the role of collaboration in getting lead service lines replaced. while pushing for this to happen as soon as possible. Watch the full video of the summit here.
It’s no small thing to move an issue like lead service line replacement all the way to the White House. Growing recognition that there are still sources of lead in our drinking water systems and that they pose a real health risk has helped propel this issue to the top of the Administration’s agenda. New funding made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act is an overdue downpayment on this much needed improvement. But our work doesn’t stop there.
EPA is poised to propose more revisions to the Safe Drinking Water Act Lead and Copper Rule later this year. We continue to call for EPA to require full replacement of lead service lines among other provisions.
We also need to continue to nurture creative cooperation among stakeholders to accelerate this process. The ongoing Biden-Harris Get the Lead Out Partnership, also launched last week, is one such opportunity. We are also proud of Clean Water Action’s work with the Lead Service Line Collaborative, where we work with a wide range of organizations to develop and share online tools, webinars, and case studies to assist communities with full lead service line replacement programs.
However, we have more work to do! We need to make sure that historic investments in water infrastructure are spent equitably and effectively. We must make sure that local, state and federal governments take a holistic approach to lead exposure, since paint, soil, and dust are major sources of exposure that lead to childhood lead poisoning. Your donations help make this possible - thank you for your support.