Old lead water pipes run from coast to coast in the U.S. alone. These have been highly used in the past to transport water to all the homes and businesses in the country. However, while these do bring the much-needed nourishment to the people, these pipes are quite dangerous.
Lead pipes rust and age over time. Even worse is that the coating erodes over time. The Biden administration now has a goal: to remove all these pipes and replace them with something that’s not detrimental to the health of their residents.
A total of $15 billion of federal money will be used as funding for a project that’s meant to protect the health of the residents. The money has been allotted to replace as many old lead water pipes across the country. This has been made possible with the help of a recently enacted infrastructure bill made from the Biden administration.
While early EPA bans on leaded gasoline and lead paint has helped in the reduction of the burden of lead poisoning that plagued the country, old lead water service lines can also excrete the toxic metal into the water supply. Many have realized that this has become not just dangerous for adults, but for children as well.
The EPA has made an estimation that around 400,000 schools and ten million are extremely reliant on lead service lines, especially when it comes to their water consumption. “The science on lead is settled — there is no safe level of exposure and it is time to remove this risk to support thriving people and vibrant communities,” shared EPA administrator Michael Regan when he was asked to make a statement. He aims to pair the removal project with regulation that will ensure how lead pipes are permanently unavailable to pipelayers and housing manufacturers all over.
Lead pipes have once been thought as harmless. That’s because these were made with a heavy protective coating of built-up minerals inside the pipe. The coating served to separate the surface from the water that passes through it. These then were buried and left to work on their own. The builders didn’t give much thought after they were installed. Unfortunately, changes in the chemical composition in the treatment of the water, can quickly remove the plaque and expose the drinker to the lead inside. This was an observation made by one geochemist from Indiana University,
Government-run water delivery programs in find ways to cut down on costs and save cash by removing the addition of phosphate to maintain the mineral plaques inside the pipes. This method of corner-cutting is extremely dangerous. The CDC then made sure to enter into the needed lead removal project. They will set up a new childhood lead testing program, and regulators involved will conduct testing to help remove all the old water lines that are still being used to this day.
The federal plan may be ambitious as they want to replace all the lead service lines from coast to coast, and the EPA will back them up by writing the budget into the regulations within the next few years. While much has yet to be done, the promise of clean, healthy drinking water all over the U.S. will become a reality for all.
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