House Urges EPA to Tighten Tap Water Rules

March 19, 2004

Lead Contamination Crisis Primary Focus

The recent lead contamination crisis in the District of Columbia has opened the eyes of many legislators about flaws in federal water regulations.

To this effect, many congressional leaders have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen its rules governing lead contamination of tap water.

Members of the House Government Reform Committee cited the agency's regulations as "weak" and suggested EPA make changes in its regulations. In a seven-page letter to the EPA's top administrator, Benjamin Grumbles, the Committee called for changes in the way locl jurisdictions are required to test for lead, control corrosion of pipes, and notify residents of contamination problems, the Washington Post reported.

The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, which distributes water to the city, has faced heavy criticism for their handling of the lead problem. Authority officials said they had been following EPA guidelines on how to notify residents and take corrective action. By writing this letter to Grumbles, federal leaders are showing that they are unsatisfied with EPA's oversight of the matter.

If the EPA enacts the recommended changes, utilities in every state likely would be required to increase testing and report more data to the federal agency, the Post reported. More explicit public notification about potential health risks and incentives for replacing private portions of lead service lines also would be required.

Source:

The Washington Post

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