The Biden Administration on Thursday announced a proposal to require water systems to replace all lead service lines within 10 years.
“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,” the White House said in a statement, noting that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which President Biden signed two years ago, invests over $50 billion for the “largest upgrade to the nation’s water infrastructure in history.”
“[T]oday’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 White House said.
More than 9.2 million American households connect to water through lead pipes and lead service lines.
Back in January, Vice President Harris hosted a summit on efforts to speed up the removal of those lead pipes across the U.S.—an issue she has called a public heath crisis. Joining her at the summit was EPA Administrator Michael Regan, along with other representatives from state and local government, water utilities, labor leaders, NGOs and the private sector.
“The science is clear—there is no safe level of exposure to lead,” Regan said at the time.
The Administration’s latest proposal also aims to increase tap water sampling requirements. It would additionally require water systems to complete comprehensive and publicly available lead service line inventories, and to strengthen and streamline requirements for water systems to take additional actions to reduce lead health risks to communities.
According to the White House funding from American Rescue Plan’s $350 billion State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund can be used by states and communities to replace lead service lines and remediate lead paint.
“To date, well over $20 billion nationwide has been invested in water infrastructure projects, including significant clean water investments,” the White House said.