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Proposed Changes to Lead and Copper Rule

Earlier this month, EPA released a series of proposed changes to the Lead and Copper Rule. Here are the major differences you should know about:

Lead action level: The lead action level remains unchanged at 15 parts per billion (ppb), and systems testing at or above 15 ppb would be required to replace 3% of lead service lines (LSL) per year, which is down from 7% in the current rule.

New trigger level: The agency is adding a new trigger at 10 ppb. Water systems testing between 10 and 15 ppb would be required to implement the following planning procedures: (1) evaluate corrosion control, and (2) set a goal for LSL replacements at a pace agreed upon between the community and the regulator.

LSL replacement procedures: Cities must replace the portion of the LSL on public property within 3 months of a homeowner replacing the portion on private property. For every replacement, partial or full, the city is required to provide a filter and three months of cartridges.

Inventory: To improve transparency, water systems must make a complete and publicly available inventory of lead service lines, including indicating unknown pipes, within three years of the rule changes.

Testing: Changes to sampling requirements include mandatory testing at schools and daycares: 20% of schools and 20% of daycares in a community every year.

Outreach: Systems are required to notify households testing above 15 ppb within 24 hours.

Comments will be accepted on these proposed changes through early December. You can read more about the issue on EPA’s website.

Massport Responds to Advisory Board’s Letter

thumbnail of MWRA – Massport’s Response 6.17.19In the Advisory Board’s FY20 Comments & Recommendations, it was recommended that the MWRA engage Massport in discussion on two issues: (1) Massport should rescind the $8 million that was extorted from ratepayers for the HEEC/Eversource Cross-Harbor Cable to go through Conley Terminal, and (2) the MWRA should be charging Massport for the O&M and capital costs of running Wiggins Pump Station at Conley Terminal, so that communities are not paying for Massport’s operations.

The recommendation was followed up, per request, by a letter from the Advisory Board to the MWRA Board of Directors. That letter was redirected to Massport and received a response on June 17, 2019. The letter confirms one of the glaring issues with the $8 million extortion: No appraisal was done to justify this exorbitant cost; it was simply “negotiated” between Massport and HEEC/Eversource, with the latter receiving their standard 9% escalator on top of the cost.

Finally, the response letter from Massport indicates they will be sitting down with the MWRA to discuss the past, current and future costs of running and maintaining the Wiggins Pump Station. The Advisory Board expects a swift resolution to this issue, and will not back down. Next stop: the State House.

Update: you can view our video summary of the issue here.

2018 Water & Sewer Retail Survey

There is no better way to start the New Year than by reviewing the water and sewer rates from this year. The 2018 Advisory Board Water and Sewer Retail Rate Survey is here! The 2018 document highlights a 2.8% increase from the prior year for the average annual cost of water and sewer services for a household in the MWRA service area at the industry standard usage of 120 HCF (90,000 gallons); the average cost in 2017 being $1,602.14.

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