As I watched a February 11 hearing about regulating lead at the tap, I experienced one of those “Opposite Day” episodes where two objective realities collide.
These cuts won’t just mean that EPA is doing less to protect our water, they also hit state and local governments and drinking water systems hard. States where Clean Water Action works would lose out on federal funding, leaving taxpayers and ratepayers holding the bag.
Under current regulations, if water systems exceed the Action Level for lead, they must take a number of actions including commencing lead service line replacement at a rate of 7% annually. EPA’s proposed LCR revisions reduce this rate to 3% while closing some loopholes and proposing other requirements that will support more efficient and effective replacement programs. While closing loopholes and putting in place other requirements to make replacement activities more effective are positive steps, EPA is justified in lowering the required rate of replacement. When systems exceed the lead Action Level, 7% is a realistic yet ambitious rate of replacement.