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News We Follow: Flint Water Crisis Shines Light on Lead Pipes Across U.S.

Posted in: news we follow

From an article in WSJ

A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses the water crisis in Flint and how it is making the rest of the country pay more attention to the water in their homes. You will need a Wall Street Journal subscription to read the full article here but we've highlighted some of the key points from the article below. 

Washington Street Journal Flint MI Water Testing ESG

  • Lead is common in pipes across the country, mostly in service lines linking street pipes to people's homes. Millions of pipes now in use were installed well before 1986, when federal law banned lead pipes in solders, and some date back to the 1800s.
  • Children are especially vulnerable to even small amounts of lead, which can damage developing brains.
  • Just 2% of water utilities surveyed by the American Water Works Association last year said they had all the financial resources to cover future pipeline upgrades, which would include replacing lead pipes and fixtures.
  • Lead contamination in the water supply has cropped up elsewhere, though on a smaller scale than in Flint.
    • Milwaukee suspended all water main replacement projects when tests showed the construction increased lead levels in the water going into several homes.
    • Sebring, Ohio schools were closed after the operator of a local water system failed to warn its 8,100 customers of high lead and copper levels.
    • In 2011 and 2012, a study by the EPA tested 32 Chicago homes with lead services lines for lead contamination in the water. It found that the EPA-sanctioned procedure to sample water "systematically misses the high lead levels and potential human exposure."
  • Most of the lead contamination found in the U.S.. in recent years comes from paint flaking in older houses, not from drinking water.
  • EPA spokeswoman Monica Lee said Wednesday the agency hope to publish a proposal revising the rule in 2017 while looking to take steps more immediately that could strengthen it. 
  • Many utilities haven't spent enough money to upgrade their water systems, including removing all lead, according to Daniel Van Abs, a water utility expert and human ecology professor at Rutgers University.

If you are concerned about the water or lead in your home, ESG provides water and lead testing. Contact us today for more information.

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