NRWA Applauds EPA’s Announcement of Intent to Remove Lead Service Lines Across the Country
On behalf of all small and rural communities in the country, the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) is grateful for the President’s prioritization of the complete removal of all lead pipes used to carry drinking water to American homes in the “Build Back Better” legislation (H.R. 5376). The Administration’s legislation includes $9 billion for historically successful drinking water infrastructure programs in addition to the recently enacted $15 billion in funding that was continued in the ‘‘Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021.
“This first-of-its-kind initiative will be remembered as one of the most significant public water and drinking water improvement initiatives in the country’s history and especially in rural America,” said Matt Holmes, NRWA CEO. “We are especially grateful that the funding is targeted to disadvantaged communities that often have the most difficult time affording safe, public drinking water and most disadvantaged communities will be in small-town and rural America.”
The funding is coming at the same time as the Administration is finalizing its new lead in drinking water regulations (Lead and Copper Rule Revisions or LCRR), which will require all communities to map and inventory their lead water lines, develop plans in certain instances for the removal of the lead lines and their replacement with safe alternatives, and expand the requirements for public involvement in the program. The additional funding is essential for the successful implementation of the new rule in more than 45,000 small and rural communities covered by the rule.
The great majority of communities regulated by the new LCRR will be small (under 10,000 in population) with limited technical and financial resources. We are appreciative and supportive of the Administration’s approach of shared intergovernmental responsibility among local, state, and federal government that is reflected by combining the new rule with the historical funding assistance.