WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4) has introduced the Get the Lead Out Act (HR 7918) to authorize $14 billion over two years and require every utility in America to develop a plan to identify and remove lead pipes that threaten residents, especially children, from the dangers of lead.
Smith said this measure builds upon his efforts to alleviate the threat of lead in drinking water systems in his district and other areas of New Jersey.
“For every family and every household, clean drinking water is an essential necessity of everyday living,” said Smith. “People need to know the water from the kitchen tap they drink or cook with is clean and safe for themselves and their families. Lead service line replacement is needed to give them that peace of mind. Local, state and federal government must work together to make that a reality.
"This bill will help ‘get the lead out’ of drinking water in towns like Trenton and Hamilton in my district, throughout New Jersey and across the country," Smith added to "tackle this threat to human health which can cause long-term harm in adults and which presents a particular danger to children, who are especially vulnerable to lead,
The Get the Lead Out Act directs all community water systems across the US to develop a plan to inventory and replace all lead service lines (LSLs) in their system within 10 years. The plan must be submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval.
To help community water systems afford these necessary upgrades, the bill authorizes nearly $14 billion over two years with $13 billion targeted directly to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The DWSRF is a federal-state partnership fund and a main source of funding that allows states to receive monies from EPA and in turn offer low interest loans—and even forgivable loans—to local water systems to achieve healthy drinking water.
The bill also provides $180 million for the Lead Reduction Grant Program at the EPA, a competitive grant program for schools, states, municipalities, tribal water systems and community water systems. Once awarded, these funds can be used for corrosion control and replacing lead service lines as well.
Smith said, “Congress must act on this critical legislation that’s long overdue and can make drinking water safer for generations of Americans.”
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