The funding of WRDA S.612 is critical to deal with the Flint Water Infrastructure Crisis and Health of Flint Residents.
November 14, 2016
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.
Press Release obtained from: http://dankildee.house.gov/congressman-dan-kildee-introduces-the-no-lead-act-to-improve-lead-and-copper-rule/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016
Contact: Rep. Stephanie Chang
Phone: (517) 373-0823
Statement for state Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) on the report from the Joint Select Committee on the Flint water public health emergency:
“I am glad to see the Report of the Joint Select Committee on the Flint Water Emergency release its report and recommendations today and applaud the hard work of the committee members on such important topics. The Flint water crisis and water crises across the state continue and we need to take all necessary steps to address them.
“I am glad that citizen oversight at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) was highlighted as a next step. However, I believe that any citizen oversight commission that is instated should include many of the provisions included in House Bill 5404, 5405, and 5406 that make sure these bodies have the strongest available tools to protect public health, such as the revocation and revision of permits, and other abilities to take enforcement and investigative actions. I also believe we need to make sure that a variety of voices are represented on these commissions, including members of the public and representatives of local governments and environmental leaders.
“Also, water affordability and shutoffs must be more comprehensively addressed. I have the honor of serving on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) local government advisory committee and we have submitted recommendations to the EPA administrator for the national drinking water action plan that is expected before the end of the year. I was far from alone in bringing forward the topic of affordability. Many other local government officials in rural, suburban, and urban areas of the country expressed that water affordability is a major issue that must be addressed. When cities like Detroit are shutting off water to tens of thousands of residents or proposing to begin shutoffs in Flint simply because some residents are unable to afford their water bills, it is a human rights and public health concern. House Bills 5097and 5122 would address water affordability and institute shutoff protections and should have been included in the joint committee report. Nationally, there is a recognition that affordability is a priority, so it is extremely disappointing that our state has failed to recognize it as such when it impacts so many of our vulnerable residents.
“Long before the Flint Water Crisis was acknowledged, I began working with what grew into a bi-partisan workgroup of legislators and stakeholders, including Representatives LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit), Sheldon Neeley (D-Detroit), Phil Phelps (D-Flint), Edward Canfield (R-Sebewaing) and the late Rep. Julie Plawecki and we developed these bills as part of our “Water as a Human Right” bill package. Our water workgroup will be following this issue very closely and hope that all issues are addressed fully.”