The Michigan Municipal League participated on the Lead and Copper Rule Stakeholder Workgroup that is assisting MDEQ with recommendations to address modifications to the Administrative Rules promulgated pursuant to Michigan’s Safe Drinking Water Act, 1976 PA 399, as amended. We believe the discussion and any changes to the rule or other policy needs to be focused on how to best protect the public from lead exposure. Unfortunately the draft rule add additional burdens to community water supply systems that run counter to the principals of asset management and may ultimately hinder the protection of public health.
The key highlights from the draft rule that was released last week include…
- Reduce the action level from 15 parts per billion down to 10 parts per billion beginning January 1st 2024
- Require suppliers to to a materials inventory by 2020 and a detailed inventory by 2024 with verification methods.
- For a water supply that exceeds the lead action level after installing corrosion control shall annually replace not less than 7% of the initial number of lead service lines in the distribution system at the water supply’s expense.
- For supplies that doesn’t use corrosion control and exceeds 5 parts per billion they shall annually replace not less than 5% of the initial number of lead service lines in the distribution system at the water supply’s expense.
- All water suppliers that are under 5 pars per billion shall replace lead services lines based on an asset management plan. There is no specific schedule for replacement but it shall be done at the water supply’s expense.
- Creates a household action level of 40 parts per billion
- Adjusts sampling requirements
- Creates a statewide drinking water advisory council that would assist DEQ in developing ways to educate the public about lead exposure
The League has taken a stance that we are not opposed to determining how much lead is in our systems or the need to systematically begin removing the lead from our systems, but it cannot be done in such a way that reduces our ability to improve the overall performance of the system, causes a financial hardship or conflicts with specific constitutional provisions, the Headlee Amendment or the Bolt decision.
For a copy of the draft rule and the regulatory impact statement please click the following links.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division (DWMAD), will hold a public hearing on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Michigan in Ballrooms 5-8 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. The hearing will be held to receive public comments on proposed changes to the Supplying Water to the Public rules. For more detail please click the following link. LCR Public Hearing Notice
Anyone unable to attend may submit comments in writing to the following email address by 5:00 p.m. on March 7, 2018. DEQ-LCR-Comments@michigan.gov.
The League has partnered with the Michigan Townships Association, American Water Works Association, SEMCOG, Oakland Co., Great Lakes Water Authority and the Detroit Water and Sewer System, to develop a coordinated response with our specific concerns on the draft rule and specific suggestions on an alternative approach. That will be completed in the coming days and we will share that with our members once it is finished. We also encourage you to send in your comments on the rule and request that you be as specific as possible with your concerns.
In summary, we urge that Michigan’s finalized program be bench-marked against the overall outcome we all seek to achieve: reducing blood lead levels. This requires a commitment to methodically addressing the multiple pathways to exposure. Shorter-term investments in possible exposures from drinking water should be targeted to where needed as precisely as possible. Longer-term investments should be as aligned as possible with all the other investments needed to protect public health.
John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at email@example.com or 517-908-0303.