A December CDC report states that nearly 15,000 Washington, D.C. homes that have had partial lead line replacements are at risk for high lead levels. See the article here on Examiner.com.
The problem started around 2000 when D.C. responded to a 1998 EPA mandate to reduce chlorine byproducts that could be carcinogenic. Chlorine was used to disinfect the water supply, but then chloramine was used to reduce chlorine byproducts. However, chloramine caused lead pipes to leach into the water, and much of the city’s infrastructure was made of lead pipes. Lead causes irreversible brain damage to fetuses and infants. After children tested high for lead from 2003 to 2004, two bad things happened. First, both the city and the CDC covered up the problem, lying about it, claiming that the water was safe when they knew it wasn’t. Second, the city embarked on a $100 million project to replace lead service lines with copper, but they stopped when they got to private property. The chloramine caused lead to leach from the water, causing a temporary spike in lead levels, making the problem worse.
Congress came out with a report last spring that said CDC used false data to mislead the public in a 2004 report. CDC then admitted wrongdoing, and two weeks ago published a report that stated that nearly 15,000 homes with partial lead line replacements were still at risk for high lead levels. Those homes should be tested.
I think that’s it, but it’s pretty confusing. Welcome to the D.C. lead in water fiasco, circa 2000-2010. Makes the Redskins problems seem not so bad.
Also, here is an article from June about a congressional report that said CDC misled the D.C. public about the safety of drinking water, which had high levels of lead from 2001 to 2004.