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Governor Announces Plan to Reduce Lead Exposure

Mar 17, 2017

On Thursday, Governor Rick Snyder announced an increase to state standards for the federal Lead and Copper Rule and that he is creating a permanent commission focusing on the elimination of child lead exposure.

The Lead and Copper Rule is a federal regulation aimed at controlling lead and copper in the drinking water and can only be altered nationally via federal action. Despite an ongoing attempt over the past several years to update that standard, no action has been taken at the federal level. With the announcement today, Michigan will be preparing to follow strengthened state standards while continuing to push for improvements at the federal level.  The following reforms will happen through administrative rules:

  • Require the establishment of Water System Advisory Councils for most community Public Water Systems to assure citizen membership, input, and access. The councils will develop plans for community outreach and education, and collaborate with community groups to assure correct implementation of the LCR. The councils will assure access to information regarding corrosion control, testing results, remediation processes, educational efforts and general water safety.
  • Require most public water systems to perform a full system inventory identifying materials used, such as lead service lines.
  • Phase in a reduction in the Lead Action Level from 15 ppb to 10 ppb by 2020.

The Governor is also calling for additional reforms, which will require a change in statute by the Legislature:

  • Strengthen sampling methods and require annual testing at state licensed facilities involving children and vulnerable adults, including schools, daycare facilities, nursing homes, health facilities, and adult foster care facilities.
  • Require public disclosure of testing results or filters on every drinking water faucet in state licensed facilities involving children and vulnerable adults. Facilities exceeding standards will be required to take remedial action.
  • Prohibit partial lead service line replacements.
  • Require landowners and property sellers to disclose to renters or new homeowners of any service lines or plumbing that are known to contain lead.

Additionally, on Thursday, Governor Snyder signed Executive Order 2017-2 creating the Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission.  The creation of a permanent commission was a recommendation of the Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board, chaired by Lt. Governor Brian Calley.  The new commission will focus on implementation of the board’s recommendations and monitor the state’s efforts to eliminate lead exposure in children.  Housed with the Department of Health and Human Services, the fifteen-member commission will act in an advisory capacity to the Governor and department directors to coordinate and collaborate with all levels of government and stakeholders.  The Governor also announced the appointments to the commission, for a full list of appointees, please click here.

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