Michigan enacts toughest lead rules in U.S. after Flint crisis

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan now has the country's strictest drinking water rules for lead.

The plan filed Thursday will eventually result in the replacement of all 500,000 lead service pipes statewide in the wake of the contamination of Flint's supply.

The rules will drop the "action level" for lead from 15 parts per billion, the federal limit, to 12 in 2025.

Underground lead service lines connecting water mains to houses and other buildings under a broader plan to repair and replace buildings will be replaced by 2040, unless a utility can show regulators it will take its water infrastructure.

The plan could cost $2.5 billion over decades, money that is expected to largely come from water customers.

Gov. Rick Snyder says the federal lead rules do not do enough to protect public health.

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) issued the following statement after the state of Michigan announced an update to the state’s Lead and Copper Rule:

“After the state of Michigan created the man-made crisis in Flint, I appreciate efforts to update the outdated Lead and Copper Rule. Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction to remove every lead pipe in Michigan, but more work needs to be done in order to protect public health and prevent lead in our drinking water. We must recognize that there is no safe level of lead.

“Nationwide investments are badly needed to prevent lead exposure and remove lead service lines. At the federal level, Congress must pass my legislation, the NO LEAD Act, which goes further than the state standards in lowering the action level of lead in drinking water. Updating this outdated rule will not only better protect public health, it will begin to restore public confidence in drinking water systems in Flint and across the state.”