President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio has introduced legislation to address lead pipes in Rhode Island’s water supply system.
The Lead Poisoning Prevention Act (2023-S-0002) would create a lead water supply replacement program for both public and private service lines, with a requirement that all affected lines are replaced within 10 years. Last session, President Ruggerio co-sponsored similar legislation, which was introduced by former Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey and passed by the Senate.
“This important legislation will give new urgency to the replacement of antiquated, unsafe lead pipes,” said President Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4 North Providence, Providence). “It addresses a serious threat to the well-being of all our children, and better protects the health of all Rhode Islanders.”
He continued, “No family should have to worry that their home’s water supply may be poisoning their children. A home should be a safe and nurturing environment, and every family deserves access to safe, lead-free, potable drinking water.”
Financial assistance for lead pipe replacement would be provided through the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, including no-cost options for property owners. To help develop the state’s workforce, the legislation would set requirements for water suppliers and contractors to participate in apprenticeship programs.
The bill would require water suppliers to create a service line inventory no later than Oct. 16, 2026, to determine the existence or absence of lead within each water connection in its service area. It would also establish new notification and reporting requirements for suppliers to ensure transparency in the identification and replacement of service lines containing lead.
Additionally, the bill requires a lead risk assessment be conducted for any home built prior to 2011 as part of any transaction involving the property. Currently, those assessments are required only for homes built prior to 1978.