After Flint, Michigan Pushes Toughest Lead Water Rules in the Country

Governing: Four years after the start of the Flint water crisis, Michigan state regulators are on the verge of approving some of the strictest rules in the country to reduce the risk of water-based lead poisoning. But local governments warn that the rules are needlessly expensive, likely unconstitutional and won’t necessarily improve public health.

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) drafted the rules, which could officially take effect in the next two weeks. The most ambitious aspect of the regulations would require water utilities to replace all lead service lines (the pipes that connect water mains to buildings) within the next 20 years. Utilities would have to do the work and pay the costs for doing so, even if all or part of the line is privately owned, as most are.

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