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Agency Statement: Drinking Water and Lead

Release Date: 10/06/2004
Contact Information:

Contact: Cynthia Bergman (202) 564-7862

(10/06/04) The quality of drinking water in the United States is among the best in the world. The nation’s Lead and Copper Rule has successfully reduced levels of lead in drinking water throughout the country. Blood lead levels in children have decreased significantly due to this rule and other actions taken to reduce lead exposure.

EPA’s drinking water data, which includes state reporting of 73,000 water utilities from all over the country, demonstrate that lead in drinking water is not a widespread problem. In the limited cases where it is a concern, the Agency is working with states, which have primary responsibility for implementation, compliance and enforcement, to notify the public and ensure that lead levels are reduced by controlling for corrosion, and when necessary, replacing lead service lines.

If there are any utilities that have violated federal law by providing false, incomplete or misleading data on drinking water quality, EPA or the state will pursue appropriate penalties under federal and state law.

Over the past several months, EPA has undertaken an unprecedented review of the implementation of the Lead and Copper Rule, including collecting monitoring data, reviewing state programs, and conducting expert workshops. Within the next few weeks, EPA will reiterate and clarify the guidance to states on how utilities can improve implementation of the Lead and Copper Rule.