State proposal would remove lead service lines throughout Michigan in twenty years

Nov 29, 2017

The state gave Michiganders their first look at expected changes to drinking water rules Wednesday, ahead of a public information meeting.

Eric Oswald is with the DEQ. He said the changes will include a requirement that lead pipes throughout the state be completely removed in the next twenty year, with a goal of roughly 5% of lead service lines changed out every year.

“We’re going with an average rate. So you could do none the first two years and 15% after that. There are systems like Detroit that have upwards of 125,000 lead service lines and we know 20 years probably isn’t adequate or realistic so we have a provision to set up a timeline with systems like that with a huge lead service line issue.”

Oswald said other changes will include making sure local governments are more transparent about water infrastructure.

“There’s a transparency and public education rule change where there will be a state board and every community over 50,000 will have to have a local board to produce educational materials about lead and copper and that sort of thing.”

Oswald said any lead in the state’s water systems is too much.

“There’s always a risk if you have lead in your system. The goal is to get it out of there and get beyond this situation where we have hazardous components in our drinking system.”

Oswald said he expects the draft rules to be finalized by mid-January - after which they will be open for public comment.