Washington (February 3, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee, today queried the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its efforts to determine where there may be other communities at risk of drinking water contamination similar to what Flint, Michigan has experienced. The state of Michigan failed to act on an EPA report and EPA warnings that described the problems that would be caused by the failure to add the appropriate anti-corrosive chemicals to drinking water before it entered the city’s iron water mains and lead pipe delivery system, which led to an alarming rise in the number of children found to have elevated blood lead levels.

Senator Markey sent his letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy because “the city of Flint is not the only economically stressed city in the United States, many cities still have older lead pipe drinking water delivery systems, and there may exist many potential drinking water contaminants besides lead”.

In his letter, Senator Markey asks the EPA to respond to questions that include:

  • How does EPA receive information about and monitor decisions made by state or local officials to alter their drinking water supplies or water treatment systems or processes?
  • For the past five years, when was the EPA made aware of state or local decisions related to drinking water that caused EPA to warn the state or local government about the potential health or other consequences of its planned action or action taken, and what was the outcome?
  • What actions is the EPA taking to proactively identify additional economically distressed or other communities that may be at risk of problems similar to what occurred in Flint? Is there information states could provide to EPA that would better help EPA identify drinking water systems that are persistent or serious violators of the Safe Drinking Water Act?

A copy of Senator Markey’s letter to the EPA can be found HERE.