The Environmental Protection Agency will propose a revision of a decade-long rule for testing lead contamination in drinking water.
The agency is promoting the new guidelines as an important step in reducing lead acidity in the nation's drinking water supply and as evidence of Trump's commitment to clean water in the US Critics say, however, that the changes would be the process of removal of lead from the water systems of the cities slow down.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler  Andrew WheelerEPA Announces New Standards for Lead in Water Overnight Energy: San Francisco Repels Trump for Water Pollution Information | The court says the EPA is not doing enough to fight smog between states Iceberg bigger than Los Angeles is breaking Antarctica San Francisco is pushing back as Trump claims the city's waterways are "heavily polluted". MORE will introduce the proposed rule, which, according to the agency, represents the first "major" revision of the lead and copper rule since 1
"The Trump Administration today pledges to ensure that all Americans have access to clean drinking water by proposing the first lead overhaul and Copper Rule in over two decades," said Wheeler in a statement.
"By improving lead identification protocols, expanding sampling and tightening treatment requirements, our proposal would ensure that more water systems proactively take measures to prevent lead exposure, especially in schools, childcare facilities and the most vulnerable communities ,
Critics, however, reject the agency's claims, arguing that the changes could actually slow down the progress of removing lead from the water. These experts say the current value of 15 parts per billion (ppb) is too high to significantly lower blood levels of exposed children.
Rather than lowering the key action level, the rule introduces a new two-tier control system.
When city water reaches a new "trigger level" of 10 ppb, cities would need to re-evaluate their water treatment processes and possibly adding anti-corrosion chemicals to tap water.
The agency is promoting the new trigger value of 10 ppb, saying that this would allow systems to respond more quickly in the future if they exceed the 15 ppb limit. "
The focus of the problem is dealing with the country's estimated 6 million line services connecting households with urban water supply.
An improvement to the proposal is that cities would have to replace a wireline service if a homeowner would replace his Part of the line replaced.
However, cities need only begin replacing the full length of all main lines in their system at 15 ppb, but cities would be required under the new proposal. Critics fear that the rules on how fast cities will do their jobs
"It's really as if a window cleaner were trying to make it look much stricter, though the actual action level stayed exactly the same, and they have the percentage The upgrade has dropped from 7 percent to 3 percent, which is very disappointing, "s Betsy Southerland, Director of the Office of Science and Technology at the EPA's Water Department under the Obama administration.
An EPA official told reporters that the agency believes that other changes to the proposal will help to ensure this. More pipes are being replaced, including the requirement that cities must carry out a census of main lines in their system, and The requirement that cities must replace pipes even if the later test is below the action level. The cities would have to make the exchange for two years, not just one year.
But Southerland said she views the proposal largely as a lip service by a government that has repeatedly suggested reducing support for city projects to remove lead pipes from the budget – something that Congress has repeatedly suppressed with nonpartisan support.
High levels of lead exposure can be extremely damaging and even death. Lead exposure is of particular concern to children who may experience cognitive and neurological deficits when exposed to certain concentrations.
The Centers for the Control and Prevention of Disease indicate that there is no safe lead content in children's blood.
The new EPA rule does not take lead into pipes in private households and leaves it to individuals to voluntarily pay for replacing pipes in their own homes.
After the water pollution scandal in Flint, Michigan, concerns about lead exposure to drinking water in 2015 gained new attention.
Wheeler previously said the Obama administration had waited too long to act in Flint, where residents drank lead drinking water at alarming levels.
"Part of the problem with Flint was the breakdown once they got the data once the city of Flint, Michigan, the Obama EPA – they sat on it," Wheeler told CBS March. "We do not do that – once we get information that there is a problem, we intervene and help the local community clean up the water system."
The latest proposal aims to remedy this disruption by requiring utilities to notify residents within 24 hours if their water tests exceed 15 ppb.
It also focuses specifically on the effects that lead on children may have when water systems need to conduct tests at schools and in childcare facilities.
Updates to these test requirements also prevent cities from advising homeowners to flush pipes before filling in tests – something that can distort test results.
Water experts fear, however, that the overall trigger value is insufficient to take action from cities.
"I think it's a stop-gap measure," said Carl Reeverts, who retired from the EPA in 2014 after being deputy director of the drinking water protection department. "The removal of lead service lines is the only way to truly free the system of potential lead exposure in drinking water."
– Updated at 16:27