The Department of Environmental Quality is making a final call for public comments on revisions to the state’s lead in drinking water regulations. The deadline to submit comments on the proposed changes has been extended to Wednesday, March 21 at 5 p.m.
If approved, Michigan would hold the toughest regulations in the country. The acceptable lead level in a community’s water would go down from 15 parts per billion to ten, and cities would be responsible for creating plans to replace all lead service pipes, in full, at the expense of their water systems.
Some environmental activists say these revisions are not enough.
At a public hearing held earlier this month, Sylvia Orduno of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization spoke out against the motion to lower the lead “action level” from 15 parts per billion to ten.
“Of course we want a lower Lead and Copper level Rule,” said Sylvia Orduno of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. “We want it to be zero. That’s the only thing that we know will do anything to protect our communities.”
Detroit resident Louis Novak of the Peoples Water Board Coalition said the proposed changes would amount to a harsh raise in water rates for people already struggling to pay their bills. Novak cited Detroit, where water shutoffs are common.
“If they can’t pay their water bill, there’s no way they’re gonna be able to pay to replace their pipes,” Novak said.