Environmental Advocates NY Statement on Historic EPA Action to Get the Lead Out of Drinking Water

November 30, 2023

Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced┬áproposed updates to the nation’s lead in drinking water regulations, known as the Lead and Copper Rule. In a historic step, EPA will require the vast majority of water utilities to replace 100% of the lead pipes in their distribution systems over 10 years, starting in 2027. EPA intends to finalize this proposed rule in October 2024, following public comment.

Rob Hayes, Director of Clean Water with Environmental Advocates NY, said:

“We are thrilled by EPA’s bold leadership to tackle the scourge of lead poisoning. EPA’s proposal is the most important action to get the lead out of drinking water in US history. For far too long, lead pipes have contaminated our drinking water and caused public health crises in cities like Flint MI and Newark NJ. Today, EPA said enough is enough. Replacing all of the nation’s lead pipes will improve the health of tens of millions of Americans and create huge numbers of good-paying, union jobs at the same time. Lead pipes will soon be a thing of the past, and future generations will be better off because of that.

Now our collective effort must shift to implementing this plan here in New York. There are an estimated 500,000 lead pipes across the state, the 6th highest total in the nation. Governor Hochul can play a leading role in getting the lead out as swiftly and equitably as possible. One of the first actions she can take is signing the Lead Pipe Right to Know Act, which complements EPA’s plan and would make data about where lead pipes are located more easily accessible to the public online. Looking to 2024, the Governor can include $100 million in dedicated funding for lead pipe replacement in the state budget to jump-start this work in the communities that need it most.”

Rob Hayes is available to speak to press about what EPA’s announcement means for the future of water quality in New York State. Rob is a leading statewide expert on lead pipes. He has coordinated a campaign to pass statewide legislation addressing lead in drinking water, and has worked closely with Troy, NY residents to win a first-in-the-state plan to replace all of the city’s lead pipes at no cost to residents. Rob is based in Albany, NY.