Young works to get the lead out of drinking water in public housing

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) recently cosponsored a bipartisan bill that would improve the removal of lead from drinking water in public housing across the nation.

“Families shouldn’t have to face the threat of lead contamination in their drinking water or in their homes,” Sen. Young said on April 13.

The Get the Lead Out of Assisted Housing Act of 2022, S. 4047, which U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sponsored on April 7, would require the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to inspect for lead service lines, create a grant program to address lead contamination, and allow a cross-check for lead in water when remediating a home for lead found in paint, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Young’s staff.

By requiring HUD “to identify and address lead contamination at the source,” said Sen. Young, the bill would “protect the health of Hoosier families and communities across the country.” 

Specifically, S. 4047 would direct the HUD Secretary to update the Uniform Physical Condition Standards to include inspections for lead in service lines and plumbing, and ensure HUD has the authority to address lead contamination from water, air or industrial sources in consultation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the summary says.

Additionally, the Healthy Homes Lead in Drinking Water Grant pilot program would be created to provide grants to states and local governments to develop plans for community development. Funds would be used to identify the threats posed by lead in drinking water, as well as the steps to protect residents, according to the summary.

Activities under the proposed grant program would include establishing a lead service line inventory, testing for lead in the drinking water at childcare centers and schools, testing for lead at public facilities, and remediation, the summary states.

“It’s unacceptable that in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, families living in federally assisted housing remain at risk of suffering permanent brain damage as a result of drinking water contaminated with lead,” said Sen. Duckworth, who added that S. 4047 would “help ensure no family is overlooked.”