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MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (June 14, 2016) - - - Recently, local news publications andmedia picked up on an article published by The Guardian regarding lead testing.The Guardian article contains a number of factual errors and attempts to make thecase that many states and water systems, including both Mount Pleasant Waterworksand Charleston Water System, have been “cheating” or using “tricks” in connectionwith compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule and knowingly endangering publichealth. During interviews with Mount Pleasant Waterworks and Charleston WaterSystem our representatives informed the media that many of these allegations wereinaccurate and misleading in our view.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently released a statement (copyattached) that lays out the various steps they’re taking, in concert with states andwater systems, to improve implementation of the Lead and Copper Rule. Thestatement contains the following language in the first paragraph, which we believe iscritical in proving that The Guardian’s article was based on incomplete informationthat could create unnecessary public concern.
“A 2008 letter on pre-stagnation flushing was directed to an individual water utilityand was not framed as national guidance. The Lead and Copper Rule does notprohibit practices of pre-stagnation flushing and removal of aerators, but EPA’sFebruary 2016 memorandum reflects the agency’s recommendations on thesepractices."
The 2008 letter to which the excerpt refers was sent by the EPA to a single publicwater utility (then known as the DW Water and Sewer Authority). It was not thenational guidance that The Guardian article implies. Since the Lead and Copper Ruledid not prohibit pre-stagnation flushing, many states historically allowed this practiceas a means to help ensure that a sample was being collected from a representativetap, in common use. That practice was not revised by the EPA until the February2016 guidance was issued.
The EPA may issue some additional clarifications relative to The Guardian article, andif so, we will pass those along and adjust our protocols accordingly. In themeantime, we would like to request that our local media representatives provide theresidents of the Lowcountry with this important clarifying information that provesthat information published by The Guardian was less than completely factual andthat both Mount Pleasant Waterworks and Charleston Water System have properlyperformed lead testing in accordance with EPA guidance in effect at the time.
For questions or comments from EPA please contact:Christina Wadlington202-566-1859Wadlington.Christina@epa.gov