Lead group launches joint effort to accelerate lead pipe removal


The Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative has announced a joint effort to accelerate full removal of the lead pipes providing drinking water to millions of American homes.

Composed of 23 national public health, water utility, environmental, labor, consumer, housing and state and local governmental organizations, the Collaborative released an online toolkit to help communities voluntarily develop and implement lead service line removal programs. Nationwide, old lead service lines connect an estimated 6.1 million or more homes and businesses to community drinking water mains.

Removing lead service lines provides an opportunity to significantly reduce the risk of exposure to lead in drinking water. Lead impairs children’s normal brain development, contributes to learning and behavioral problems, and lower IQs.

The Collaborative’s toolkit includes a roadmap for getting started, suggested practices to identify and remove lead service lines in a safe, equitable, and cost-effective manner, policies that federal and state leaders could adopt to support local efforts, and links to additional resources that may be helpful when developing local programs. The toolkit is intended to be a living resource, and the Collaborative is seeking communities to pilot and provide feedback on the materials.

While federal efforts and regulations related to lead service line removal are ongoing, the Collaborative is focused on mechanisms to support local action. The Collaborative:

  • Promotes a collaborative, community-based approach, built on contributions from residents, health officers, utilities, environmental and other community leaders, local elected officials, consumers, plumbers, the housing community, and others to help provide the strong foundation needed for successful action.
  • Recognizes that fully replacing all lead service lines will take many years to accomplish. For that reason, it is critical for communities to start now.
  • Identifies policies that federal and state leaders could adopt to help communities succeed. It does not endorse, or advocate for any of these policies. Its members may do so individually.
  • Is a joint effort of its members, not a corporation or non-profit organization.

Some notable water sector groups supporting the Collaborative include the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), the National Rural Water Association and the Water Research Foundation.

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