Congressional Leaders Chastise EPA Over Lead Contamination

A bipartisan group of congressional leaders criticized the U.S. EPA yesterday in a letter for its handling of the Washington, D.C., lead-contamination crisis and called on the agency to strengthen its rules governing lead in drinking water. Embattled D.C. officials, struggling to react to findings of widespread lead contamination in the city’s water system, have repeatedly claimed that they were simply following EPA guidelines. The letter, addressed to EPA water chief Benjamin Grumbles (whose name we never tire of writing), seemed to agree: “Weak public notification requirements may have prevented people living and working in the District from being adequately informed of the situation.” If the EPA adopts the letter’s recommendations, utilities in every state likely would be required to test water more frequently and report more data to the EPA, and the agency would make public reporting on lead dangers and remedies more explicit.