Get the Lead Out: Michigan to Remove All Lead Service Lines Under New Clean Water Rules

The State of Michigan revealed new drinking water protections which will require the state’s water utilities to eventually remove all lead drinking water service lines. The reformed Lead and Copper Rule, released today, would also outlaw partial lead service line replacements—a practice that can increase neurotoxic contamination in homes—while also expanding public education and notification requirements.

The new rules raise the bar on drinking water protections, making Michigan the first state to:

  • mandate full lead service line replacement;
  • ban partial service line replacement, except during emergency water main repairs when the resident does not agree to allow full replacement;
  • require the water utility to replace and pay for the entire lead service line.

Following is reaction from Cyndi Roper, Michigan Senior Policy Advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

“These new protections can never make up for the disaster in Flint. And while they don’t solve the whole problem, they help ensure that other communities are better protected moving forward. Getting lead services lines out of the ground is the most effective way to reduce the potential for dangerous water contamination.

“There is no safe level of lead in drinking water, so despite some troubling loopholes, these rules set an example other states and the Environmental Protection Agency could follow to address an issue plaguing water systems across the country.”

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​