Wednesday, January 30, 2019

New Law Tackles Lead Service Lines in Washington D.C.

lead service lines faucet bathroom sink
Washington D.C.'s new lead service line law brings awareness
to prospective homeowners while helping current property
owners replace their toxic lead pipes.

Recently, Washington D.C. passed a new law concerning lead service lines on residential properties. The new law requires property owners to disclose the presence of lead service lines to prospective homeowners and renters. The law also codifies financial support for homeowners who received partial lead service line replacements so that their pipes can be fully abated.

Under the new law, property owners renting out residences must provide a lead disclosure form before the prospective tenant is bound by any contract to rent the unit. The form will disclose the results of any lead tests conducted on the unit's water supply. The form will also disclose any known information on lead service lines on the property, whether or not the line has been replaced, and any civil fines previously imposed on the owner for violations of this disclosure requirement.

Additionally, Washington D.C. will provide financial assistance for homeowners to receive full replacements of partially-abated lead service lines. Furthermore, all property owners who want to have their lead service lines replaced can do so with greater assistance; property owners will only have to pay for the portion of replacement on private property while the district will pay for the portion on public property.

The law builds upon action previously taken by D.C. officials to remediate lead service lines in the district. Lead service lines are a dangerous source of lead exposure. The pipes, or lines, that bring drinking water to residents can often erode over time. As they age, the lead material in them can leach into the water supply. Often times, homeowners are unaware as to whether or not their pipes contain lead. This means that lead exposure can persist undiagnosed in residents until it's too late.

Other states have begun to enact stricter rules regarding lead service lines. After the lead poisoning crisis in Flint and Washington D.C.'s own ongoing lead exposure issue, the dangers of aging lead pipes became a concerning topic for civilians and lawmakers alike.

Washington D.C. estimates there are 48,000 lead service lines on private property. That means 46 percent of their service lines could eventually be a source of lead poisoning.

The new law in conjunction with previous action such as its online, interactive map of lead service lines in the district and its prioritization of full service line replacements will help reduce lead exposure. The new law is a significant step toward ensuring the safety of all residents.


To learn more about the law, visit Washington D.C.'s website. To learn more about lead exposure and how to get involved in this work field, visit Zack Academy.


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