New State Rule Requires Water Systems To Eliminate Lead Service Lines

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Image credit: Amber Neher

Water systems will have 20 years to get rid of the types of pipes that contributed to the Flint water crisis.

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 A new state rule requires local water systems to get rid of all their lead service lines over the next 20 years.  Those are the types of pipes that contributed to the Flint water crisis.

Governor Rick Snyder says a confusing federal lead and copper rule helped create the Flint crisis, and called for Michigan to adopt its own standard covering roughly 2,000 water systems.

So Michigan will now have its own rule that’s stricter than the federal standard,” says Snyder.

Eric Olson is with the Natural Resources Defense Council. He says Michigan’s new lead rule is the toughest in the country.

He says, “This new rule in Michigan will put the state ahead of any other state in the country in terms of pulling out all these lead pipes, and protecting citizens from elevated lead levels in their drinking water.” 

Snyder press secretary Anna Heaton says the state can now step in sooner if lead is detected in a water system. Those systems would also have to accelerate the pace of pipe replacement. The rule does not affect the pipes inside homes and businesses.


Rick Pluta has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.

Follow @rickpluta

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