Report shows over 5,000 water systems violate federal law
A new report from environmental action group National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has shown that over 5,000 water systems that serve 18 million Americans are in violation of the law.
The report, issued in June, shows 5,363 U.S. community water systems violated the federal Lead and Copper Rule, which requires monitoring for lead and copper levels in water, according to CNN and Vox. The report, which pulled from numerous Environmental Protection Agency records, shows that while the EPA knew of such violations, it hasn’t done much to stop them.
"Imagine a cop sitting, watching people run stop signs, and speed at 90 miles per hour in small communities and still doing absolutely nothing about it — knowing the people who are violating the law. And doing nothing. That's unfortunately what we have now," Erik Olson, health program director at Natural Resources Defense Council, told CNN.
Tampa Bay area counties are among the 5,300 that violated such rules, Florida TV station WFLA reports. Hillsborough, Polk and Sarasota counties had more than 10 percent of their samples containing over the EPA’s 15 parts per billion action level. The water systems in the Ohio counties of Butler, Dearborn and Highland also contained excessive levels of lead exceeding the 15 ppb action level, according to Ohio TV station WXIX.
Out of the 100 largest water systems with lead and copper levels that violated the federal law, 48 of the systems were located in Texas, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Five Texas systems were in the top 10, with Houston being the largest.
Not all cities have slacked with their water systems. Olson tells NBC News that Lansing, Mich. replaced all of their lead water service lines without being required to do so.
"Other cities, like Madison, Wisconsin have done the same thing,” Olson told NBC News. They are pulling all of their lead pipes out of the ground and making the water safer for their customers. So, they’re our solutions to this problem, and they are doable. We just have to have the will to do them."