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High lead levels in your water? Responsibility to let you know could fall on EPA's shoulders

Jan 27, 2016

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new bill would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to let the public know if their water contains dangerous levels of lead.

Right now, that responsibility lies with state and local officials.

The new bill would give the EPA authority to notify residents of high lead levels if the state fails to act.

Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Dan Kildee announced the new legislation Wednesday.

Peters said the bill would help ensure situations like the Flint water crisis don't happen again. 

"Most states and most local authorities, if they determine that there is lead in the water, they're going to do everything they can to fix it and will be transparent about it. Usually. Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case with the state of Michigan," Peters said. 

Under the bill, the EPA would have 15 days after finding out about high lead levels to get the word out to the public.

"If there was quicker notification and more transparency, we could've taken remedial actions [in the Flint water crisis] much sooner," Peters said.