Congressman Dan Kildee Introduces the NO LEAD Act to improve Lead and Copper Rule
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today introduced comprehensive legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) within nine months. The National Opportunity for Lead Exposure Accountability and Deterrence Act (NO LEAD Act) would improve lead testing procedures by banning techniques that disguise lead levels in water and prioritize testing for facilities with pregnant mothers and children. Additionally, it would provide more information to the public on the safety of their drinking water and lower the level of lead contamination in drinking water that would trigger when a public water system (PWS) must act to remove lead from drinking water.
“Due to many deficiencies in the Lead and Copper rule, Michigan regulators were able to distort and cover up testing results that would have alerted Flint residents of issues in their drinking water. It has been 25 years since the lead and copper rule has seen a major revision. I have worked with scientists and drinking water policy experts to align the Lead and Copper rule with modern science,” said Congressman Dan Kildee. This bill comes after the EPA has failed to make a major update to the lead and copper rule since 1991.
“I applaud Congressman Kildee’s leadership on this important issue. It is essential that the EPA finalize strong and protective requirements for lead in drinking water, to protect the people of Flint and prevent the next Flint,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ). Details on Congressman Kildee’s legislation are below:
- Lowering the Action Level: The bill lowers the action level from 15 parts per billion (ppb) currently, to 10 ppb by 2020 and 5 ppb by 2026. This will align the LCR with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regulations for bottled water.
- Action Level Exceedance: If an individual building tests above the action level the building resident and the entire population served by the PWS must be notified within two days. Also, there must be an onsite investigation at the building within 10 business days of the testing to determine the scope of the lead issues.
DRINKING WATER TESTING
- Water Sampling: Public water systems (PWSs) must include all water testing done in their compliance reporting.
- Sampling Protocol Instructions: The EPA must develop a scientifically-based universal testing protocol that prohibits the use of techniques that minimize detecting lead in drinking water. Further, testing must prioritize high-risk buildings, such as those where children or pregnant women live. Finally, testing must be done at least once per year at all drinking water outlets in schools and day care facilities.
- Service Line Replacement: If a service line must be replaced, the entire service line from the transmission line to the house must be replaced; partial line replacement is prohibited. When replacing service lines, priority must be given to the most high-risk buildings such as those with pregnant women and children residing in them.
- Service Line Inventory: Within three years, every PWS must create a publicly accessible inventory of the location, composition, any previous work done on and legal ownership of all the service lines it serves.
TRANSPARENCY & EDUCATION
- Public Education: Water testing results must be in a standardized format and be posted on the websites of both local and state governments and the EPA. Also, information regarding available financial assistance to replace lead service lines and how to request a water test must also be posted.
- Consumer Confidence Report: The annual Consumer Confidence Report, required of all PWS, must be publicly available online or be mailed to all residents of the PWS. This bill also requires the consumer confidence report to provide additional information about lead testing, including:
- The address, date and history for each specific site where sampling was done.
- The material composition of the service line at each test site as well as an explanation if any sampling is not done at a facility with a lead service line.
- The test results for the highest and median lead levels and number and value of all test results above the action level.
- The stated reason for invalidating any test samples.
- The types of disinfectants and corrosion controls being used to treat the water and any major changes in treatment in the previous year.
- The history of violations and fines the system has received.