first_imgsonsam/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Partially inspired by the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a new rule to reduce exposure to lead from drinking water around the country on Thursday. “The action that we’re taking tomorrow is targeting probably the largest source of lead in people’s lives today — and particularly children — and that’s in the drinking water system,” EPA chief Andrew Wheeler told ABC News in an exclusive interview Wednesday.Wheeler said the new rule will help remove the most corrosive pipes with the highest risk of releasing lead first.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s no safe level of lead in children’s blood and says that amounts as low as 5 parts per billion require medical intervention. Exposure to lead can cause developmental delays and learning difficulties in children, as well as symptoms including weight loss, irritability or even seizures.Lead exposure has drastically decreased since rules were put in place such as banning lead pipes in 1986, but an estimated 6.5 to 10 million homes still use lead water lines and millions of buildings, including schools, also have older infrastructure that could include lead pipes, according to EPA.Lead pipes that carry water from local treatment facilities to residents’ homes and other buildings can be treated to prevent exposure to lead. But in some cases water, like in Flint, improperly treated water can corrode the pipes and lead can leach into drinking water. Experts and groups like the American Waterworks Association have said that given the high risks from lead exposure, cities and states should take steps to completely remove lead pipes to eliminate the risk of exposure completely and that only partially removing lead service lines actually risks releasing more lead.This is the first overhaul of the Lead and Copper Rule in more than 20 years, according to the EPA, and would require drinking water systems around the country to be more proactive in identifying lead water lines in the city, replacing those service lines and treating water to prevent residents from being exposed.When he first came into office, Wheeler said he was concerned a requirement to remove lead service lines could take 20 to 30 years and that poorer communities would lag behind affluent communities that might be able to replace their lines immediately.“What we’re doing is requiring water systems to update their publicly available inventory of where the lead service lines are and we’re requiring the water systems to find and fix the sources of lead, particularly when a sample in a home exceeds the 15 parts per billion,” he said.The rule also requires that schools and day care facilities be tested after the agency’s internal watchdog found that less than half of school districts check drinking water for lead.The new rule would also require all water systems to use the same procedures to test tap water for lead and notify customers within 24 hours if the level exceeds 15 parts per billion.“On the campaign trail President Trump said he wants to make sure that there were no more Flint, Michigans, and that has been a guiding principal that he directed us to,” Wheeler told ABC News. “One of the reasons why we’re requiring notification if lead is found in the water within 24 hours — he was very disturbed with what happened in Flint. It was a failure of communication by both the local, state and the EPA during the Flint crisis. So this was a huge priority for him — it’s been a huge priority for us at the agency.”Cities still have to replace the portion of a lead service line managed by the water system if a customer decides to replace the portion on their private property, under the new rule. Cities will also have to implement a plan to replace at least 3% of lead service lines every year if the water tests above 15 parts per billion of lead. Systems with more than 10 ppb — but less than 15 — will have to work with the state to set an annual goal to replace those service lines.Under the current rule, systems that tested above 15 ppb were required to replace 7% of lead service lines each year, but an EPA official said they didn’t think that was happening because partial replacements or new test results could count as part of that benchmark.“We encourage all lines to be replaced and we say that there is no safe level for lead, but you have to prioritize the cleanup and we have to make sure that with 15 parts per billion or above that those are cleaned up and immediately replaced and we lowered the trigger to 10 parts per billion. Ultimately our goal is to replace all the lead service lines around the country,” Wheeler said.Erik Olson, senior director of health at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the 3% requirement is still a huge change from 7% and could take much longer for all lead service lines to be replaced.“We thought they should do full replacement within 10 years. The problem is — if you wait 33 years — that at least one generation and maybe two of kids that are going to be exposed to lead,” he said.Olson said he’s also concerned that piecemeal replacements of lead service lines are inefficient and that the best approach is to go into an area or neighborhood and replace all the lines at once regardless of if homeowners have taken the same step.Wheeler acknowledged that the customer-driven approach could mean partial service line replacements in some areas, which EPA itself says can increase short-term lead exposure, but would still be beneficial.“This is to make sure that when homeowners replace the lead pipes that they have, in the past if they replaced it there’s no guarantee they would get lead-free water because the service line going up to their house may have been corroding lead. So this is to make sure that if a homeowner is going to take on the additional financial burden of replacing their line early that they will be guaranteed lead-free drinking water by requiring the water service provider to replace their side of the pipes as well,” he said.But that will be an expensive undertaking.A 2016 EPA document found it could cost from $2,500 to $8,000 to replace a single line, estimating it would cost between $16 billion to $80 billion to immediately replace all the lead lines in the country. EPA provides billions of dollars in grants to improve drinking water infrastructure every year but cost will still likely be a concern for homeowners with lead service lines or smaller communities.An EPA official said they expect the new rule to cost water systems and states $131 million to $270 million a year.Wheeler acknowledged the process won’t be cheap but said the agency believes the benefit of reducing lead exposure outweighs the cost.The new Lead and Copper Rule will be posted to the Federal Register on Thursday and will be open for 60 days of public comment before it is finalized. Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Carl Paladino (Photo credit: Hannonjd Director of New Media, Paladino For The People)Upstate New York Republican Carl Paladino, a former gubernatorial candidate, ignited a firestorm of criticism Friday for “racist” and “reprehensible” remarks including his wish that President Obama “catch mad cow disease” and “dies” and First Lady Michelle Obama “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe.”The racially insensitive comments from Paladino, who supported President-elect Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, came in response to four questions posed by Artvoice, a Buffalo alt-weekly, for an article related to the new year titled, “What do we want for 2017?”In response to the paper’s first question—“What would you like most to happen in 2017?”—Paladino said: “Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.”Asked who’d he’d like to “go away” next year, Paladino responded, “Michele Obama.”“I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,” he added.The comments garnered swift condemnation from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his former 2010 gubernatorial race rival.“Carl Paladino, a Republican Party official from Western New York, made racist, ugly and reprehensible remarks about President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama,” Cuomo said in a statement.“Paladino has a long history of racist and incendiary comments,” he added. “While most New Yorkers know Mr. Paladino is not to be taken seriously, as his erratic behavior defies any rational analysis and he has no credibility, his words are still jarring. His remarks do not reflect the sentiments or opinions of any real New Yorker and he has embarrassed the good people of the state with his latest hate-filled rage.”Paladino’s comments also drew a rebuke from the president-elect’s transition team, calling the remarks “absolutely reprehensible.”The county executive of Erie County said Paladino should resign from his position on the Buffalo School Board, as did hundreds of people who signed an online petition calling for Paladino’s resignation.“Carl Paladino has proven himself time again with disgusting comments to be a racist,” stated the petition, which had more than 2,100 signatories just hours after it was created.Paladino released an unapologetic statement in which he criticized President Obama for diminishing the military’s might and questioning First Lady Michelle Obama’s patriotism.“And yes,” he closed, “it’s about a little deprecating humor which Americans lost for a long time. Merry Christmas and tough luck if you don’t like my answer.”last_img read more

first_imgSarah Kim | Daily TrojanStepping up · Forward Hailey Hite will aim to provide more firepower in her junior season after USC graduated two of its three top goalscorers.The USC women’s soccer team announced its 2017 schedule last Tuesday, as the reigning national champions prepare to defend their first title under fourth-year head coach Keidane McAlpine. The Trojans have a challenging slate on tap this fall, matching up against eight teams that made the NCAA Tournament last year.The team will raise its championship banner to open the new season at home against UC Davis on Aug. 18. Before the players officially begin their campaign, however, they will play two preseason exhibition games: one against UC Irvine at McAlister Field on Aug. 11 and another at Long Beach State two days later.USC will play seven non-conference matches prior to kicking off Pac-12 play in late September. After facing UC Davis, the Trojans head east to take on two 2016 NCAA Tournament competitors, Missouri and Kansas, away from home. McAlpine’s squad then returns to Los Angeles to host Santa Clara — who advanced to the Elite Eight last year — as USC aims to avenge one of its four total losses from the previous campaign.Finally, the Trojans face Iowa State at McAlister Field before wrapping up their non-conference schedule with games on the road against Loyola Marymount and San Diego.“We have a non-conference schedule that will challenge our team and prepare us for the difficulties we will face in Pac-12 play,” McAlpine said. “I am very excited to see how this new mix of women are able to carry on the standards set by the 2016 national championship team.”As is the case every year, USC is scheduled to play each of its 11 conference opponents once in 2017. The team begins with a tough road trip on Sept. 23 to challenge Utah, who pushed the Trojans to a double-overtime draw in Salt Lake City last fall. The two sides met again in the NCAA Tournament, and USC bounced the Utes from the bracket, advancing to the Sweet 16 thanks to a late goal from sophomore striker Leah Pruitt.The team plays its Pac-12 home opener after the trip to Utah, as Oregon State visits McAlister Field on Sept. 28, followed by Oregon on Oct. 1.Though the Pac-12 provides challenges every week, the Trojans will really run the gantlet near the end of the regular season. They will play rematches against the only two conference rivals to beat them last year — Cal and UCLA — with a game against perennial championship contender Stanford sandwiched in-between. USC will host the Bears and Cardinal at McAlister Field on Oct. 26 and Oct. 29, respectively, then conclude the regular season in Westwood on Nov. 3. The Trojans prepare for the upcoming campaign after losing a key chunk of its championship core over the offseason. Five seniors were drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League, including Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year Sammy Jo Prudhomme and 2016 MAC Hermann Trophy finalist Morgan Andrews.Striker Alex Anthony last year’s joint-top scorer on the team with 10 goals, returns for her redshirt senior season, however. Pruitt is back in the fold as well, after chipping in four goals and eight assists in 2016. With plenty of returning talent and a six-member recruiting class ready to cut its teeth, the Trojans will look to continue their championship form without skipping a beat this fall.last_img read more