EPA, Memphis Leaders Discuss Lead in Drinking Water
ATLANTA (July 8, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted a roundtable yesterday with organizers representing Memphis, Tennessee to highlight the experience of local communities with lead in drinking water. This roundtable discussion, along with nine others being held with communities across the country, is essential to informing EPA’s review of the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) revisions to ensure that the rule is grounded in the lived experience of individuals and communities that are most at-risk of exposure to lead in drinking water.
“Reducing exposure to lead—in water or elsewhere in the environment—is essential to protecting the health of our children and supporting vibrant communities in Memphis and cities across the southeast,” said John Blevins, EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator. “Addressing lead in drinking water will require partnerships and strong leaders and I want to thank the community groups that organized this roundtable for their leadership on this issue of public and community wellbeing.”
“Lead poisoning from drinking water is a serious concern, so I am pleased that the EPA was in Memphis today to discuss how MLG&W and others in our community can work with it to proactively address the problem,” said Congressman Steve Cohen. “In Congress, I have introduced legislation that would provide a tax credit of up to $4,000 to help homeowners replace lead service lines to their home. The INVEST in America Act that passed the House last week has $45 billion to fully replace lead service lines across the country. I will continue to work with President Biden’s administration and my House colleagues to upgrade America’s infrastructure.”
"Memphis has been a frontline EJ community for decades,” said LaTricea D. Adams, Chair of the Shelby County Lead Prevention & Sustainability Commission. “We have prided ourselves on our aquifer with some of the most pristine water in the world, but the aquifer can't protect us from dilapidated infrastructure and legacy pollution with lead service lines which are highly concentrated in African American and Latinx communities. Today's LCRR Community Round Table is the first step toward dismantling white supremacy and environmental racism. We can't wait any longer for environmental and restorative justice.”
Roundtable participants included Shelby County officials; the office of Mayor Jim Strickland; state and local elected officials; Memphis Light, Gas & Water; Sierra Club; the Gates Foundation; and others.
Additional information on the virtual roundtable, including how to watch a recording, is available at: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/lead-and-copper-rule-revisions-virtual-engagements.
Lead can cause irreversible and life-long health effects, including decreasing IQ, focus, and academic achievement. EPA is committed to following the best science to address lead in the nation’s drinking water and will take the appropriate time to review the LCR Revisions and make sure communities that have been impacted the most are protected. In March of this year, EPA announced an extension of the effective date of the Revised Lead and Copper Rule so that the agency could seek further public input on the rule. The agency hosted virtual public listening sessions on April 28, 2021, and May 5, 2021. On May 26, 2021, EPA announced the ten communities that were selected for virtual roundtable discussions on EPA’s LCR Revisions. Members of the public may also submit comments via the docket at: http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0255 until July 30, 2021.