Rhode Island senate approves 10-year deadline to replace lead pipes

The Rhode Island State Senate recently passed a bill that would give water utilities a 10-year grace period to completely replace lead service lines. The Lead Poisoning Prevention Act sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggiero would make RI the second state determined to “get the lead out” (after NJ) within a decade.

Lead is highly toxic, especially to children. Utilities are pipes that run from a water main into a house or other building. In Rhode Island, an estimated 29,000 of these utilities are made of lead, posing a major risk of water pollution.

Nationally, President Biden has set a goal of replacing all of these toxic pipes within a decade, but there is no enforceable deadline. The Rhode Island bill reiterates our request for the US EPA to set a 10-year deadline when updating the lead and copper rule later this year.

Rep. William O’Brien introduced the bill to the state House of Representatives, which has yet to approve the measure.

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