Biden Admin Unveils $3 Billion For Push To Replace All Lead Pipes In 10 Years

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Nick Pope Contributor
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The Biden administration announced $3 billion in funding for its initiative to get rid of every lead pipe in the U.S. over the next ten years on Thursday.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the funding, which comes from the bipartisan infrastructure package of 2021 and is part of a larger $15 billion push to replace every lead pipe in the U.S. within a decade. President Joe Biden will tout his administration’s lead pipe removal spending at a Thursday event in North Carolina, according to the White House.

The $9 billion that the administration has spent to date on lead pipe replacement initiatives is anticipated to fund the removal of up to 1.7 million lead pipes across the country, according to the White House. The EPA estimates that there are about 9 million homes, schools, businesses and daycares in the U.S. that receive water through lead pipes. (RELATED: Biden Looks To Turbocharge EPA Office Responsible For Aggressive Green Regulations)

The EPA also proposed an update to the agency’s “Lead and Copper Rule” in November 2023 that included a provision requiring the replacement of all lead pipes within ten years. The funding announced Thursday will also align with the administration’s “Justice40” agenda, which stipulates that 40% of the benefits of certain environmental and climate spending flows to “disadvantaged communities,” according to the EPA.

While the administration states that the lead pipe removal push is an attainable means of providing cleaner drinking water for Americans, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, a trade group for urban water suppliers, has warned that the goal of replacing every lead pipe in the country within ten years could be unrealistic.

The organization has “repeatedly highlighted” possible problems with the ambitious timeline, including elevated costs, supply chain woes, worker shortages, poorly-kept building records and difficulties accessing lead pipe lines on private property.

The EPA did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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