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Rep. Russo Introduces the Lead Service Line Replacement Bill

HB 730 would protect Ohioans' drinking water from the ill-effects of lead by establishing a lead service line replacement program
July 23, 2020
C. Allison Russo News

COLUMBUS — State Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 730, a bipartisan bill introduced with Rep. Dave Greenspan (R- Westlake) to establish a lead service line replacement program.

“Research demonstrates that even minute traces of lead have detrimental effects on the health of children, families and communities,” Rep. Russo said. “By establishing a lead service line replacement program, we can begin to dismantle the legacy of lead in Ohio’s water delivery systems while protecting Ohioans, especially children, from the health risks of lead exposure in drinking water.”

“We need to set-up the best possible process in order to protect individuals and their families from the dangers of lead within our drinking water,” said Rep. Greenspan. “I am proud to introduce this bill for the safety of Ohio’s drinking water delivery systems.”

This legislation will create an Office of Lead Service Line Replacement within the Ohio EPA to coordinate programs. Other specific provisions of the bill include: 

  • Requiring the inventory of all service lines, including the private side of service lines;
  • Requiring all public water systems to fully replace lead service lines within 20 years of the enactment of the legislation;
  • Banning partial lead service line replacements; 
  • Enabling public water systems to develop and implement programs that reduce barriers to fully replacing lead service lines;
  • Providing funding for lead service line replacement programs via grants;
  • Encouraging public water systems to create programs that provide financial assistance to low-income customers to replace their part of the lead service line; and
  • Allowing customers to pay the remaining costs for private lead service line replacement through their water bill or up front.

The CDC has determined there is no safe level of lead in children. Lead poisoning is irreversible and the developmental effects of lead poisoning may take years to emerge. According to the Value of Lead Prevention, nearly 4,000 children in Ohio each year have an elevated level of lead in their blood.  Children’s exposure to lead in homes, water and the soil costs Ohio $2.8 billion annually, with a burden of $1.6 billion on household budgets and the private sector, and a cost $367.7 million on state and local budgets.  These costs accrue from reduced productivity and premature mortality, as well as added health care, education and social assistance spending.