EDF Applauds EPA’s Proposed Rule to Eliminate Lead Pipes in U.S. Drinking Water Systems

Statement of Sarah Vogel, Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities

November 30, 2023
Cecile Brown, (202) 271-6534, cebrown@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. - Thursday, November 30) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed improvements to its Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) to strengthen regulations to protect Americans from lead in public drinking water by requiring the full removal of lead service lines. Utilities are given until 2037 to remove the lead pipes that connect the main under the street to homes and buildings. Those with more than 100,000 lead service lines have the option for a deferred deadline. 

"Almost a year ago, EDF and partners joined the inaugural Get the Lead Out Partnership to meet the Biden administration’s goal to eliminate every lead water pipe in the U.S. Today's proposed rule from EPA is a huge step forward in fulfilling that promise. Fixing this longstanding environmental injustice remains an urgent priority,” said Sarah Vogel, Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities at Environmental Defense Fund. 

“Children and adults—especially those in overburdened communities—will reap enormous public health benefits. This proposal charts a path forward to addressing all sources of lead including air, food, paint and soil. EDF applauds this proposal and looks forward to supporting EPA to finalize this historic rule by October 2024.” 

EDF commends the numerous public health and socioeconomic benefits this proposed rule would provide, which include:  

  • Replacing 100% of lead pipes for the vast majority of water systems by 2037 and strictly limiting partial replacements. 

  • Prioritizing replacements for those that are disproportionately impacted by lead. 

  • Lowering the action level, triggering more aggressive action when sampling finds high levels of lead. 

  • Requiring water systems to communicate more frequently and proactively with consumers about lead service lines and the system’s plans for replacing the lines at the lowest cost.

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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on X (formerly known as Twitter) @EnvDefenseFund