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Bill would change federal lead & copper rule

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee has re-introduced legislation to change the federal rules governing lead in drinking water.

Lead exposure has been linked to serious health problems in children and adults. 

The current federal action level is 15 parts per billion. Kildee wants the EPA to reduce that benchmark to five parts per billion by the year 2026.

Kildee’s bill would also tighten rules regarding water testing, service line inventories and improve public education

“It will force the issue that the United States government, state governments, local water system operators had better begin to reinvest or we’re going to see more problems and we may see another situation like what we saw in Flint,” says Kildee.

At the state level, Gov. Rick Snyder is already moving to lower Michigan’s standard to 10 parts per billion.

Improperly treated water from the Flint River damaged aging service lines and other pipes in Flint. The damaged pipes leached lead into the drinking.

It’s been a year and a half since the city’s water system was switched back to water from the Great Lakes Water Authority (Detroit). Lead levels have decreased. Nevertheless, Flint residents are still being advised to use water filters to screen out lead particles.

Removing damaged pipes leaching lead into Flint’s drinking water is going to cost more than $100 million and take at least three years. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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