Michigan Strengthens Lead and Copper Rule in Drinking Water, Making it the Strictest in the United States
The State of Michigan has strengthened its lead and copper rules for drinking water. The changes were filed on June 14, 2018, and are now part of the official state statute. These changes wrap-up a year-long administrative process between the MDEQ and the governor’s office. With these changes, Michigan now has the strictest lead in drinking water rules in the country.
The highlights of the changes to the lead in drinking water rules, include:
- Reducing the Lead Action Level from 15 parts per billion to 12 ppb in 2025.
- Requiring all public water systems to replace lead service lines. Beginning in 2021, service lines must begin to be replaced at a rate averaging 5 percent per year, not to exceed 20 years total for replacement of all service lines, unless an alternate schedule in an asset management plan is approved by the DEQ.
- If 90 percent of a public water system’s tests exceed the action level, they must replace seven percent of their lead service lines per year as well as make public notifications to all customers on the system.
- Prohibiting partial lead service line replacement due to the potential for elevated lead levels and the risk to public health.
- Requiring a second sample collection at sites served by lead service lines. Following the first draw 1-liter sample at residential and non-residential sites, a second sample will be required immediately after three more liters of water have been drawn through the tap.
- Creating a statewide water system advisory council to assist the DEQ in developing lead public awareness campaign materials and advise the department on efforts to educate the public about lead in drinking water. The council must consist of one representative from each of the following: community water supply, non-community water supply, administrative branch of a local government agency, medical professional, professor of public health at a state university, environmental or public health advocacy group, public health educator, and two members of the public.
- Requiring all public water systems to conduct asset inventory, including a preliminary inventory that must be completed by January 1, 2020, and a complete distribution system inventory and verification methodology by January 1, 2025.
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