In late January, I had the distinct pleasure of joining U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox, federal officials, and water industry leaders in Washington D.C. for a summit to discuss national efforts to permanently remove lead from water and other sources. The overall purpose of the event was for the White House and EPA to announce several initiatives to increase resources and assistance for communities across the country to address this important public health priority. PWSA was included because of the progress we’ve made replacing 10,000 lead services lines since 2016.
Developing a program like our Community Lead Response does not come without logistical and financial challenges. On the panel, I joined several other water utility leaders to share how PWSA has taken advantage of funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other state and federal funding sources. We also discussed the commitment to engage with community stakeholders and make investments based on equity and public health by prioritizing high-risk communities.
As more utilities across the country prioritize lead line removal, we’ll continue to share our experiences and learn from other utilities across the U.S. In addition to participating in the White House Summit, PWSA joined the Biden-Harris “Get the Lead Out Partnership.” This diverse group of governments, utilities, advocacy groups, and companies is committed to public health- and justice-based principles of lead service line replacement. By participating, PWSA affirmed its commitment to fully fund the removal of lead service lines and to not perform partial lead line replacements. This approach ensures safer drinking water for all.
Please read the remainder of this issue for more lead-related information, news around what PWSA has done and will continue to do to “get the lead out,” and essential resources we’ve made available for our customers.