Environmental Protection

Fire Hydrants Possibly Exempt from Lead-Safety Law

Fire Hydrants Possibly Exempt from Lead-Safety Law

With just over a month to go before the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act becomes effective in the United States, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that will exempt fire hydrants from lead-safety regulations.

As of Jan, 4 2014, it will be illegal to use pipes, plumbing fittings and fixtures that come into contact with drinking water that are not lead free. The Community Fire Safety Act has been proposed, and passed unanimously, as a bipartisan bill by the U.S. House of Representatives as a response and rejection to the EPA’s recommendation to include fire hydrants in the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (Reduction Act).

“This commonsense legislation eliminates an unintended consequence of a recent law enacted to enhance public health," said Congressman Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.). "No one is getting a steady supply of drinking water from the fire hydrant at the end of their street, so we should not add to the heavy burden our local governments with constrained budgets already experience."

Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) said, “[this is] an important step in stopping the EPA from going forward on a costly and potentially dangerous rule that would ban the installation of current fire hydrants after January 4, 2014." 

Under the current law, non-compliant fire hydrants would be banned from being installed, which could leave some cities with no option to replace the hydrants. The Senate, in recess until Dec. 9, will review the bill and decide whether or not to approve the proposed bill. 

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