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Michigan close to finalizing stricter lead rules for water

Water faucet photo
Public domain image

Gov. Rick Snyder's administration is nearing completion of the country's strictest drinking water rules for lead.

It's a plan that would eventually result in the replacement of all 500,000 lead service pipes in Michigan despite opposition from municipalities and utilities.

The rules will take effect unless a legislative committee objects by June. Lawmakers are unlikely to intervene after successfully nudging the state Department of Environmental Quality to scale back parts of the proposal that could still cost $2.5 billion over decades. The money is expected to largely come from water customers.

The "action level" for lead would drop from 15 parts per billion - the federal limit - to 12 parts per billion in 2025.

Snyder says Flint's water crisis exposed problems with lead rules and Michigan must adopt changes.