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DC Water Statement on EPA’s Proposed Changes to Lead and Copper Rule

November 30, 2023

Like you, we are learning today about EPA’s announced proposal to modify the Lead and Copper Rule to require water systems across the country to replace lead service lines within 10 years of the effective rule. Given an anticipated effective date of 2027, this would translate into the removal of all lead service lines by 2037. EPA is also proposing additional changes, including lowering the lead action level. 

As an industry leader serving the nation’s capital, DC Water has already taken proactive measures to initiate the removal of lead service lines in partnership with the District and the Federal Government. 

We are still in the process of reviewing and analyzing the complex details, but we believe that DC Water’s ambitious approach to replacing lead service lines is consistent with the spirit of the proposed rule in working diligently to mitigate lead exposure and continue to provide exceptional quality drinking water. 

Funding for private side lead replacements within the proposed rule’s timeframe is an area of concern, and more work will be needed to address funding gaps while balancing the simultaneous imperatives of aging infrastructure and customer affordability.

To meet the timeline in the proposed rule, DC Water would need to advance three initiatives outlined in our 2023 Lead Free DC Plan, which are already in progress:

  1. Secure the requisite level of federal funding to reduce the financial burden on ratepayers;
  2. Collaborate on a District of Columbia legislative mandate that would require all District residents to work with DC Water to replace the private side of their service lines so that every line is replaced; and
  3. Continued partnership with agencies within the District to facilitate cost-effective, efficient, and minimally disruptive line replacements.

DC Water remains committed to providing our customers with affordable drinking water. We are pursuing as much federal grant money as possible and are proactively exploring additional funding options for our Lead Free DC program.

DC Water is honored to be considered an industry leader in proactively implementing lead service line replacements; we will continue to comply with enacted regulations and adjust our current programs as needed to continue to ensure that District residents have complete confidence in the quality and reliability of the drinking water we provide.