The allowance of some lead under the LCR was the EPA’s way of acknowledging that without adequate funding to rebuild America’s massive lead-based infrastructure, not to mention all the plumbing fixtures in individual homes, there was simply no way to eliminate it completely from drinking water. Only a colossal investment, thoughtfully executed, would make zero tolerance possible. The EPA estimated that it would cost up to $ 80 billion to replace all of the nation’s lead service lines, while the American Water Works Association calculated it at about $ 30 billion—or $ 1 trillion, if we repaired and expanded our old water mains, too. 68 This never became a priority. Not yet, at least. In the meanwhile, some communities tried to address the lead problem on their own, mostly focusing on paint.
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