Denver gets go-ahead from EPA after progress on removal of lead pipes

Lead water lines are a major source of lead poisoning. The metal causes brain damage and the agency says no amount is safe for children’s bodies.

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National News

December 1, 2022 - 4:45 PM

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday approved a nearly $700 million plan to remove all lead water pipes in the Denver region, saying the local water utility’s approach for reducing lead levels is succeeding and making swift progress. It’s a recognition that cities can effectively address the lead pipe crisis if they try.

Lead water lines are a major source of lead poisoning. The metal causes brain damage and the agency says no amount is safe for children’s bodies.

Denver’s water had high levels of lead a decade ago, testing showed. In response, local officials promised in 2020 to replace between 64,000 and 84,000 lead pipes in 15 years, a comparatively fast pace. To make sure people aren’t getting lead poisoning in the meantime, they also promised to hand out lead-removing filters to residents. So far the utility has dug up 15,000 lead pipes.

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