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Headline : Debate flares over how quickly to replace many lead service lines

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Tags : #debate #flares #over #quickly #replace #many #lead #service #lines

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Workmen prepare to replace older water pipes with a new copper one in Newark, N.J., on Oct. 21, 2021. Seth Wenig/AP hide caption

With the Environmental Protection Agencyโ€™s latest โ€” and strictest โ€” plan to minimize the risk of Americans drinking lead-contaminated water on the horizon, the debate over whether the agencyโ€™s proposed rules go too far or not nearly far enough is heating up.

Although lead was banned from new water service lines in 1986, itโ€™s estimated that more than 9 million such lines still carry drinking water to homes and businesses throughout the country. Under the EPAโ€™s Lead and Copper Rule Improvements proposal, water utilities would be required to replace all lead-containing lines within 10 years.

The proposal from the Biden administration differs from rules put out in the waning days of the Trump term that allow up to 30 years for service line replacement, triggered only when lead levels test higher than 15 parts per billion. The new proposal, which would largely supplant the Trump rules, calls for stricter monitoring, enhanced public education, and the 10-year pipe replacement mandate regardless of lead levels.

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