The Environmental Protection Agency has said that the agency will not enforce the Clean Water Act because of its interpretation of the act that states that “a water system that produces a high percentage of lead is in need of an environmental impact statement to determine whether or not it should be required to implement additional safeguards.”
But a new rule that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is expected to issue next week may make it clear that the rule doesn’t apply to lead pipes.
The rule, to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, is a response to a lawsuit filed last month by a group of states, including New York and California, that argued that the Clean Power Plan, which requires the EPA to set a target for carbon emissions from existing power plants, violates the Clean Air Act.
EPA has been working to update the Clean Clean Water Rule for nearly five years, and the rule was intended to provide guidance to utilities on what to do with lead pipes and other pollutants that accumulate on their property, including in storm drains.
It’s not clear what the rule will say, but the EPA has said it will not apply to Leadville, which is located on the Pennsylvania border.
The EPA said that it would “conduct a public comment period on the proposed rule before publishing the final rule.”
The rule would also require that water systems install lead-free water filtration systems, as well as install water-quality monitors and other monitoring devices, as part of any plans for remediation.
EPA also said it would set up a task force to review the impacts of lead-related pollutants on human health and the environment.