Michigan residents will be better protected under smarter state standards to improve Lead and Copper Rule

Gov. Rick Snyder: ‘The federal rule is dumb and dangerous. We need a Michigan rule that is smart and safe.'

Thusday, March 16, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – The State of Michigan is taking action to provide safer infrastructure and better protect all Michiganders from lead and copper in their drinking water by creating smarter state standards for the federal Lead and Copper Rule, Gov. Rick Snyder announced today.

“The federal Lead and Copper Rule is dumb and dangerous. We need a Michigan rule that is smart and safe,” Snyder said. “We are taking action to provide safe and reliable drinking water infrastructure that will protect the health and well-being of all Michiganders. By implementing these smarter standards, Michigan communities can better safeguard residents from lead and our residents can be assured that they have access to safe, clean drinking water.”

The LCR is a federal regulation aimed at controlling lead and copper in the drinking water and can only be altered nationally via federal action. Despite an ongoing attempt over the past several years to update that standard, no action has been taken at the federal level. With the announcement today, Michigan will be preparing to follow strengthened state standards while continuing to push for improvements at the federal level.

The proposed reforms could be used as a model for other states to follow, according to Dr. Marc Edwards, the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech University.

“These reforms will help make drinking water in the state of Michigan safer and cleaner for all residents,” Edwards said. “The reforms announced today should be used as a guide as other states look at ways to better protect public health.”

The following reforms will happen through administrative rules:

  • Require the establishment of Water System Advisory Councils for most community Public Water Systems to assure citizen membership, input, and access. The councils will develop plans for community outreach and education, and collaborate with community groups to assure correct implementation of the LCR. The councils will assure access to information regarding corrosion control, testing results, remediation processes, educational efforts and general water safety.
  • Require most public water systems to perform a full system inventory identifying materials used, such as lead service lines.
  • Phase in a reduction in the Lead Action Level from 15 ppb to 10 ppb by 2020.

The following reforms will require a change in statute by the state Legislature:

  • Strengthen sampling methods and require annual testing at state licensed facilities involving children and vulnerable adults, including schools, daycare facilities, nursing homes, health facilities, and adult foster care facilities.
  • Require public disclosure of testing results or filters on every drinking water faucet in state licensed facilities involving children and vulnerable adults. Facilities exceeding standards will be required to take remedial action.
  • Prohibit partial lead service line replacements.
  • Require landowners and property sellers to disclose to renters or new homeowners of any service lines or plumbing that are known to contain lead.

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Proposed LCR reforms PDF icon