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Action Plan To Replace All Lead Pipes In US By Next Decade

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The Joe Biden administration has unveiled an action plan to replace all of the lead water pipes in the United States in the next decade.

The plan includes more than 15 new actions from more than 10 federal agencies that ensure the federal government is marshalling every resource to make rapid progress towards replacing all lead pipes in the next decade.

According to the CDC, more than half of children in the U.S. are at risk of lead exposure - often in their own home.

Up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers are served by a lead service line or pipes and other fixtures. Approximately 24 million housing units have significant lead-based paint hazards, of which 4 million of these are home to young children.

It has been scientifically proven that drinking water from a lead pipe can cause increase in blood pressure and decrease kidney function among adults. For children, it can severely harm mental and physical development, including stunt growth, slow down learning, and cause irreparable damage to the brain.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is allocating $3 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to states, Tribes, and Territories for lead service line replacement in 2022, and calling on states to prioritize underserved communities.

The Treasury Department is clarifying that the $350 billion State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund provided in the American Rescue Plan can be used for lead service line and lead faucet and fixture replacements;

EPA and DOL will establish regional technical assistance hubs to fast track lead service line removal projects in partnership with labor unions and local water agencies. It is estimated that there are currently more than 148,000 public water systems in the United States.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will be awarding grants to remove lead paint and other home health hazards in low-income communities.

All lead service lines and paint hazards in federally assisted housing, including Tribal housing, will be removed.

A new Cabinet Level Partnership for Lead Remediation in Schools and Child Care Centers will be established.

This funding builds on $350 billion provided in the American Rescue Plan that states, localities, and Tribes are able to utilize for lead pipes and the replacement of faucets and fixtures inside schools and child care facilities.

The President's agenda invests $15 billion of direct funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for lead service line replacements at EPA through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), and an additional $11.7 billion in SRF funding for which lead pipes replacement is eligible

$9 billion is set aside in the Build Back Better Act for lead remediation grants to disadvantaged communities through the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN) program, including for schools and childcare centers at EPA.

Announcing the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, Vice President Kamala Harris said more than half of children under six in the United States are at risk of lead exposure.

"So, it's not right, obviously, and we cannot let this stand any longer. Lead exposure in our nation is an emergency," she added.

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