Illinois Has a Lead Pipe Problem It Must Solve As Biden EPA Suspends Trump Lead in Drinking Water Regulations

CHICAGO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today suspended the Trump-era lead and copper rule to attract additional public contributions, particularly from communities with lead-contaminated drinking water. Illinois has more power lines than any other state in the country. An estimated 730,000 to 1.4 million pipelines supply drinking water to residents. There is no safe exposure to lead.

“The EPA’s decision to speak to communities suffering from lead contaminated water is a sign of positive change at the federal level. However, because federal action is often too slow, we continue to advocate passing state laws to clean up every lead pipe in Illinois, ”said Jeremy Orr, senior attorney at NRDC.

Illinois law passed a bill earlier this month to oblige all water utilities to replace all leading utilities within the state. This replacement of dangerous conduits would have a direct impact on protecting the health and wellbeing of all Illinois people – especially the most vulnerable black and Latin American communities.

The Trump regulation exposed millions of people to toxic lead in drinking water, in many cases for an additional 33 years or more. The NRDC challenged the Trump regulations in January this year in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The NAACP and other stakeholders, represented by Earthjustice, also challenged the rule in January, and ten states filed another lawsuit in March. The status of these cases has not yet been determined in light of today’s announcement.

Additional resources:
Illinois Must Be A Leader in Lead Service Line Exchanges (Blog)
Data Points: The Environmental Injustice of Pipelines in Illinois
A Just Solution to Lead in Illinois Waters (Video)


NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970 our lawyers, scientists and other environmental specialists have been committed to protecting natural resources, public health and the environment of the world. NRDC has offices in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

You might also like

Comments are closed.