One Year After Flint Settlement, NRDC To Testify Strengthening Lead Rules Could Launch Michigan From “Worst to First” in Drinking Water Standards

March 1 public hearing from 5-8pm for input on new lead rules and regulations

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) are rewriting the state’s Lead and Copper Rule, which determines how much lead is allowed in drinking water. The current proposal seeks to lower the allowable level of lead in Michigan drinking water, thereby making it stricter than the federal lead standard. Yet, Michigan’s proposal allows partial replacement of lead pipes, which could worsen the public health threat from lead in drinking water.

“Michigan has a chance to go from worst to first in protecting its residents from lead in drinking water, while setting a standard for the rest of the nation to follow. That means Michigan must commit to removing all of the lead pipes – from homes to the water mains – and reject calls to pursue only partial pipe replacement. These partial replacements could actually do more harm than good, which is why NRDC fought so hard for full lead pipe replacement in Flint,” said Cyndi Roper, Michigan Senior Policy Advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

NRDC will testify that the state’s Lead and Copper Rule must do the following to adequately protect Michigan residents:

  • Explicitly ban partial lead pipe replacements and mandate full lead pipe replacement from the water main to the home;
  • Require extensive public education and safety measures to protect residents from high lead levels during and after lead pipe replacements;
  • Require water utilities to conduct robust monitoring of drinking water at the tap.

A public comment period on proposals to strengthen Michigan’s proposed drinking water rule ends on March 21. For more information, follow this link:,4561,7-135-3313_3675_3691-9647--,00.html

Nearly one year ago, NRDC won a federal lawsuit on behalf of Flint residents who were plagued with lead-contaminated tap water. In a settlement reached with the state of Michigan and city of Flint, Michigan was required to provide Flint nearly $100 million to replace the city’s lead pipes within three years.

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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, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.