EPA Issues A Call to Action for a 10-year Due Date for Replacing All Lead Service Lines

Nov 30, 2023 | BM4F Spotlights, Uncategorized, Young, Gifted & Green Blog Series | 0 comments

It is about time that EPA updated the antiquated Lead and Copper Rule to finally replace the nearly 9-10 million lead service lines in the U.S.

November 30, 2023

Washington, DC– Today the US Environmental Protection Agency released the Lead and Copper Rule Improvements (LCRI). In alignment with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to Lead Service Line Replacement, these proposed amendment rules call for:

  • 100% replacement of lead service lines in 10 years.
  • Locating Legacy Lead Pipes.
  • Improving Tap Sampling.
  • Lowering the Lead Action Level from 15 µg/L to 10 µg/L

In April 2014, nearly a decade ago, the Flint Water Crisis rocked the nation and forced this country to grapple with both environmental racism, legacy pollution, and failed infrastructure with lead service lines not just in Flint, but in cities across the nation.

“I am heartened to see the proposed improvements such as locating and replacing 100% of lead pipes within ten years and improvement of tap sampling, while I am dismayed at the minimal reduction of the action level. There is NO safe level of lead, so the action level should be even lower, possibly at 1 microgram per liter.”

Jasmine Hall, Flint Native, Epidemiologist, Black Millennials 4 Flint Lead Prevention Ambassador Alum

“It’s a shame that even after the Flint Water Crisis and watching other cities across our country suffer with illness and death caused by the toxic gift of lead in our drinking water, it took so long to determine that clean water is something every city and community should have easy access to. Replacing ALL Lead Service Lines is necessary for our country to be healthier and prosperous in the years to come.” 

Ashley Strozier, Flint Native, Mother, and Member of Black Millennials 4 Flint Board of Directors

“As a Flint Resident, I am happy to see the progress we are making with the lead and copper rule. However, there is more work to be done. More importantly, we need to assess other regulatory standards set by federal agencies using health impact assessments. We need to ensure that public health and medical professionals are at the tables that make these regulatory decisions!”

Dr. Kent Key, Flint Native, Founder of the Flint Public Health Youth Academy

“As a resident of Flint, Michigan during the devastating Flint Water Crisis and now, I am grateful for the strides we are making with the new Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Improvement. The alarming statistics from the crisis underscore the urgent need for change. Living through those difficult times, I witnessed firsthand the profound impact on our community. Environmental racism, pervasive in Black, Brown, and low-income communities, has a long and painful history in our country. The Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Improvement is a crucial step towards rectifying this injustice. No one should endure the hardships caused by contaminated water based on their skin color or socioeconomic status. In advocating for the replacement of lead pipes within the next 10 years, we are not only ensuring the basic human right to safe drinking water but also laying the foundation for a cleaner and healthier environment. It’s a collective responsibility to address these issues, and I am committed to seeing positive change. I call on everyone to support initiatives like the Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Improvement, share your stories, and engage in community efforts. Together, we can build a more equitable and sustainable environment for all communities in America. Let us not only learn from the past but also strive for a future where every American can exercise their right to a clean and safe environment.”

Dionna Brown, Flint Native, Black Millennials 4 Flint National Director of Youth EJ Programs

While these proposed improvements are a step in the right direction, particularly after the severely ineffective proposed amendments during the Trump administration and significantly lackluster amendments previously in 2021, there is still an absence of prioritizing lead in school drinking water and childcare facilities. The LCRI currently would not mandate public schools (or childcare facilities) to install water filters. Additionally, while the move from the threshold of remediation lowering from 15 µg/L to 10 µg/L is a step in the right direction, we should at minimum see the level at 5µg/L, even though no level of lead is safe.

“Black Millennials 4 Flint was a lead community organization to get the strongest local bill for mandatory lead testing in school drinking water passed, the DC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Amendment Act of 2017 as well as supported Michigan’s recent Filter First legislation. We know that it is possible to push the EPA to prioritize our most vulnerable population–our children. We are looking forward to the public comment period to reiterate this as a critical addition.”

LaTricea D. Adams, White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Appointee, Founder CEO & President, Black Millennials 4 Flint

We encourage community members to engage in the Public Comment Process:

  • EPA welcomes public input as part of the regulatory development process. EPA invites members of the public to review the proposed LCRI and supporting information and provide written comments at www.regulations.gov, Docket ID Number: EPA-HQ-OW-2022-0801. Follow the online instructions for submitting written comments. Comments must be submitted to the public docket during the 60-day public comment period.
  • EPA will consider all public comments in informing the development of the final regulation. For more information and instructions on how to submit written comments to the public docket, visit: https://www.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.
  • EPA will also hold a virtual public hearing on January 16, 2024, at which the public will be invited to provide EPA with verbal comments. Public Hearing registration can be accessed HERE.

Learn more about the LCRI using the links below: 

Media Contact

LaTricea D. Adams | media@blackmillennials4flint.org

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