The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it will seek input from state and local officials as it looks for ways to keep lead out of drinking water.
The Lead and Copper Rule, established in 1991, requires water utilities to put anti-corrosion additives into water and set a nonenforceable goal of zero lead in drinking water.
The EPA has invited state and local officials to agency headquarters in Washington for a Jan. 8 meeting as it considers changes to the rule, which has not been revised since its inception. Groups invited included the Environmental Council of States, the Council of State Governments, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and others.
“Despite lead-contaminated sites being an environmental threat to our country, EPA has not updated the Lead and Copper Rule in decades,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement.
“In keeping with our commitment to cooperative federalism, EPA is seeking input from state stakeholders on proposed revisions to properly address lead and ensure communities have access to safe drinking water.”
The EPA says it is considering potential revisions related to replacement of lead pipes and improving corrosion control treatment requirements.
Pruitt has often cited improved water infrastructure and safe drinking water as a priority. He has criticized the Obama administration for its handling of the the Flint, Mich., water crisis, in which corroded pipes caused by a change in fresh water sources tainted the city’s drinking water with lead.
The Obama administration had begun the process of revising the 1991 Lead and Copper Rule, proposing improvements such strengthening the standards for replacing old lead pipes.