EPA, Biden-Harris admin launch new LSL initiatives

digging near water pipe

On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new initiative to accelerate progress toward the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of achieving 100 percent lead service line removal and replacement. The “Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators” initiative was introduced during a White House event with Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, alongside state and local leaders celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan.

The new Accelerator will provide targeted technical assistance services to help underserved communities access funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and replace lead pipes. The initiative is a partnership with the Department of Labor, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Wisconsin and will work with 40 communities across those states in 2023.

Through the Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Accelerators, EPA will provide hands-on support to guide communities through the process of lead service line removals, from start to finish. This will include support in developing lead service line replacement plans, conducting inventories to identify lead pipes, increasing community outreach and education efforts, and supporting applications for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. As a result, more communities will be able to access their fair share of federal funds to secure a lead-free future.

EPA says partnership is core to the LSLR Accelerators initiative said the agency will collaborate each step of the way with Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Wisconsin and applauds their leadership in seeking innovative new ways to accelerate lead pipe removal. The Accelerators initiative will support these states in more strategically deploying funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) for lead service line replacements while developing best practices and creative approaches that can serve as a roadmap for the rest of the country. As this program moves forward, EPA and the Department of Labor will collaborate to provide tools aimed at increasing job quality standards, equity, and resources to accelerate the development of the skilled water workforce needed to undertake these community and system-wide lead service line replacement programs.

Get the Lead Out Partnership

Also on Friday, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a new partnership to leverage existing efforts and funding to meet its commitment to accelerate the replacement of lead pipes by the end of the decade. The Biden-Harris Get the Lead Out Partnership is a coalition of federal government, states, Tribes, local communities, nongovernmental organizations, water utilities, labor unions and private companies.

EPA and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) have both supported 100 percent removal of lead service lines in the United States. In 2021, EPA released its Lead and Copper Rule Revision, requires all U.S. water systems to develop lead service line inventories by October 2024.

The White House says the new partnership has committed to a framework of health-based justice-centered principles of lead service line replacement and has pledged to work together to identify new opportunities, resources, and actions that it can take together to help accelerate the Administration’s goal of accelerating the replacement of 100 percent of the Nation’s lead service lines in 10 years.

The inaugural partnership includes more than 100 members.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invested $50 billion in the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure, including $15 billion dedicated to lead service line replacement and $11.7 billion of general Drinking Water State Revolving Funds that can also be used for lead service line replacement.

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