America’s lead water crisis extends from coast-to-coast

Update – 4/9, 2:06 p.m. EST: AP is reporting an independent investigation of 75,000 U.S. water systems found 1,400 to have tested at levels exceeding the federal limit for lead (15 ppb), in the period between Jan. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2015.

278 0f the 1,400 serve schools and children’s day care facilities across 41 states.

 

An independent investigation by USA Today has found that nearly 2,000 water systems across all 50 states have tested for lead contamination levels in excess of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards over the past four years, effecting approximately 6 million people.

Similar to the lead water crisis in Flint, Mich., 180 of the system operators failed to warn their customers of the dangerous levels of the metal contaminant — a violation of EPA rules.

Drinking water can be contaminated due to corrosive lead piping, which breaks down over time or is corroded due to high levels of certain elements in the water itself, such as chloride.

When more than 10 percent of tap water samples from a given water system exceed lead levels of over 15 parts per billion (ppb), EPA requires local authorities to fix the problem. Enforcement, however, is handled at the state-level.

To that end, 373 operators across the U.S. have failed to rep