The Environmental Protection Agency recently released its update to the lead and copper rule, and Environment Montana says the rule falls far short of the action needed to ‘get the lead out’ of America’s, and specifically Montana’s drinking water.

Executive Director Sky Borden said there is no safe level of lead in drinking water.

“Currently the action level is 15 parts per billion and that’s the point when you need to take dramatic action to shut down service lines,” said Borden. “In places like Flint, Michigan where they’re trucking in bottled water, that’s because they were above the EPA action level. Currently the action level is 15, but the new rule would lower it down to 10, but the American Academy of Pediatrics is clear that the only safe level for action is one part per billion.”

Borden said the new EPA rules actually reduce the standards in some areas.

“The biggest issue for that is for lead service lines,” she said. “Lead service lines are the primary source of lead contamination in our drinking water. They leach into the water supply. The leaching is based in corrosion that starts far underground, so it’s a little bit like have a time bomb that keeps ticking, and if you don’t replace the lines you’re just waiting for the bomb to blow up and then clean up the debris afterward.”

Borden said she hopes that EPA will listen carefully to public comments and seize this once in a generation opportunity to strengthen its rule and secure safe drinking water for all Americans.


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