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Multidisciplinary U-M team supports implementation of Michigan’s revised lead and copper rule
ANN ARBOR—In the wake of the Flint water crisis, the state of Michigan implemented the country’s most stringent lead and copper rule last year.
To facilitate public understanding of the new regulations, the Water Center at the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute established a multidisciplinary team of experts from the School of Public Health, the Ford School of Public Policy and the College of Engineering, along with help from Safe Water Engineering.
The expert team also aims to inform water utilities and municipal leaders about the public health and policy implications of Michigan’s new lead and copper rule.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s current lead and copper rule has an action level for lead of 15 parts per billion, but Michigan’s new rule will lower that level to 12 ppb by 2025. Before Jan. 1, 2041, Michigan water suppliers must replace all lead service lines on both public and private property, and the rule establishes new water sampling requirements.
“The federal rule only requires the replacement of lead service lines if corrosion control doesn’t work, and it only requires partial replacement of lead service lines. The Michigan rule is aiming for all lead service line replacement in the next 20 years,” said project leader and Water Center Director Jennifer Read.
Read said the group’s objectives are twofold.
“First, we want to help everyone who is affected by the new rule really understand why the rule is important and what it means. The second part is providing technical support to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy for things such as developing standard operating procedures for water suppliers to use,” she said.
To provide public access to expert-reviewed materials, Read and her colleagues have placed an extensive FAQ and other resources on the Graham Sustainability Institute’s website. Visitors can gain an understanding of the rule’s implications from public health, technical compliance and policy perspectives. For answers to questions about lead service lines or corrosion control, readers will find straightforward information without excessive scientific jargon. Users can also visualize changes to the rule with the help of a comprehensive infographic.
“The Michigan Lead and Copper Rule is technical and complex,” Read said. “The infographic illustrates how the requirements have changed and explains how the changes reduce exposure to lead in drinking water. It explains how the requirements affect drinking water in your own home.”
Finally, for those interested in the policy implications of Michigan’s new rule, a set of financing case studies is now featured on the website as well. Both state and local strategies appear alongside funding considerations and legislative implications.
“The case studies look at three different mechanisms for funding lead service line replacement,” said Sarah Mills, a Ford School of Public Policy professor and team member. “Replacements will cost local governments more money in the short term, and these case studies provide examples of how it’s been funded elsewhere.
“We also highlighted practices that water systems can do themselves and how other state level policies could help facilitate the service line replacement.”
Given the public health consequences of lead in water seen in places like Flint, the multidisciplinary team hopes their resources inform citizens and policymakers in the state, region and nation.https://news.umich.edu/multidisciplinary-u-m-team-supports-implementation-of-michigans-revised-lead-and-copper-rule/
In 2018, Michigan adopted the country’s most proactive Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). This stringent new regulation protects public health by requiring Michigan’s public water utilities to take additional actions to reduce lead and copper levels in drinking water.
Researchers from the University of Michigan, in partnership with Safe Water Engineering LLC and a multisector advisory group, offer a collection of resources to answer some of the most pressing questions related to lead in drinking water and the LCR.
In 2018, Michigan adopted the country’s most proactive Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). This more-stringent LCR protects public health by requiring Michigan’s public water systems to take additional actions to reduce lead and copper levels in drinking water. For example, water utilities must provide an inventory of their water service connections, inform customers if they have a lead service line, and replace all lead service lines over the next 20 years.
Implementing this rule poses challenges, not just for resources, but for accessible, easy to understand and reliable information that can be used by municipal leaders and members of the public. With the guidance of a multi-sector advisory group, four units from the University of Michigan (School of Public Health, Engineering, Public Policy, Graham Sustainability Institute), along with Safe Water Engineering, LLC are working together to develop a collection of resources to answer some of the most pressing questions related to lead in drinking water and the LCR.
- A Frequently Asked Questions resource: the questions cover a range of topics, across public health, compliance, and finances, with the goal of providing municipal leaders, citizens and utilities the most up-to-date, science-based information about lead and copper in our drinking water. Visit the FAQ page to learn more!
- Infographics: our infographics are easy to understand visuals that represent the major changes in Michigan’s LCR. Click here to check them out!
- Policy memos: these address one of the biggest concerns about updating the LCR: how are we going to pay for it? Follow this link to read about the multiple options to fund lead service line replacements across Michigan.
- Shareable information: this collection of resources makes sharing easy with the official press release, newsletter blurbs, social media posts, downloadable images and more. Share with your network!
There is NO level of lead exposure safe for human health. Learn more about #LeadInTheWater and and how to #gettheleadout. Visit myumi.ch/QAQQe for FAQs and info on Michigan’s revised lead + copper rule from the @GrahamInstitute #watercenter @UMich
Have questions about Michigan’s water contamination laws? Check out resources from the @GrahamInstitute #watercenter @UMich for info tailored to consumers, public officials, water utilities. #gettheleadout myumi.ch/QAQQe
Lead continues to be found in Michigan drinking water, but what does that mean for the health of those exposed? Check out resources from the @GrahamInstitute #watercenter @UMich for info tailored to consumers, public officials, water utilities. #gettheleadout myumi.ch/QAQQe
PSA: Thanks to new, more proactive @MIgovernment regulations, communities are better able to discover threats to their water safety. Learn the rules and what to expect. Check out the extensive resources compiled by @UniversityOfMichigan researchers and partners through the @GrahamSustainabilityInstitute Water Center and funded by @MottFoundation. myumi.ch/QAQQe