Biden announces proposal to replace all lead water service lines in US within 10 years

More than 9.2 million American households connect to water through lead pipes.

Video byJade Lawson
November 30, 2023, 6:44 AM

The Biden administration has announced a proposal to “strengthen its Lead and Copper Rule that would require water systems to replace lead service lines within 10 years,” the White House said in a statement on Thursday.

According to the White House, more than 9.2 million American households connect to water through lead pipes and lead service lines and, due to “decades of inequitable infrastructure development and underinvestment,” many Americans are at risk of lead exposure.

“There is no safe level of exposure to lead, particularly for children, and eliminating lead exposure from the air, water, and homes is a crucial component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic commitment to advancing environmental justice,” the Biden administration said.

“The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests over $50 billion for the largest upgrade to the nation’s water infrastructure in history, and today’s action builds on these historic levels of funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, to replace lead service lines across the nation,” the statement continued.

PHOTO: US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Pueblo Memorial Airport in Pueblo, Colorado, on November 29, 2023, as he travels back to the White House in Washington, DC.
US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Pueblo Memorial Airport in Pueblo, Colorado, on November 29, 2023, as he travels back to the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Andrew Caballero-reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

The proposal would also aim to increase tap water sampling requirements, require water systems to complete comprehensive and publicly available lead service line inventories and strengthen and streamline requirements for water systems to take additional actions to reduce lead health risks to communities.

“This proposal advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, a whole-of-government approach to reduce all sources of lead exposure,” the White House said.

During the 2023 fiscal year alone, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed 49 cleanup projects that addressed lead contamination where it posed risks to people’s health around the country.

Lead is the environmental contaminant most commonly reported to the EPA, according to the White House.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is working to ensure a future where every child and family can live safely in their communities without the fear and harmful effects of lead exposure,” said the White House.

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