Lead contamination in municipal water systems systematically underreported
If you live in the U.S., the water you drink may contain unsafe levels of lead, thanks to a water-safety enforcement system rife with manipulation and negligence. Water utilities across the U.S. are discarding unfavorable test results and ignoring safety regulations. State regulators rarely enforce standards and in many cases assist utilities in avoiding penalties. The U.S. EPA, charged with overseeing state efforts and penalizing utilities that fail to comply with regulations, has drastically reduced enforcement in recent years and doesn’t have the staff to do the job adequately even if it wanted to. In 2003, the number of EPA enforcements against water utilities was less than a tenth of the number in 1997. Despite all this, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Benjamin Grumbles told Congress in July that “we have not identified a systemic problem.” Perhaps he should get in touch with the folks at The Washington Post. Seems they have.