Michigan: Replacing all lead pipes in 20 years

In the wake of the Flint water crisis, the administration of Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, United States (U.S.), wants to have every underground lead service pipe in the state replaced in two decades while also delaying a deadline to enforce the country’s harshest lead limit for drinking water for four years.

According to The Herald, replacing the pipes is part of Michigan’s “action level” plan under draft rules environmental regulators will be finalising in 2018 to reduce lead in drinking water from 15 parts per billion (ppb) – an amount the U.S. government has condemned as too high – to 10 ppb by 2024, and not 2020, as proposed at the beginning.

Rather an order that a minimum number of lines be replaced per year, utilities are called upon to replace an average of five per cent of pipes annually over 20 years, giving them a measure of flexibility in some circumstances, such as “doing more replacements in a single year in conjunction with a water main or other large project,” according to Eric Oswald, director of the Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division.

Snyder first called for harsher restrictions on lead one and a half years ago in April 2016, a few months after he formally apologised for the role his administration had in the Flint water crisis. Now, the state and federal governments will be spending up to US$97 million to replace the extant lead and galvanised-steel pipes,


Source: The Herald