In the aftermath of the lead water crisis is Flint, MI., drinking water regulators are still hesitant to post inventory information online about the number and locations of lead pipes in their systems. USA TODAY NETWORKS collected documents from 49 state governments responding to the Environmental Protection Agency's call for them to begin showing more transparency by giving customers easy access to information such as what homes are receiving water through lead service lines.
In light of concerns such as the privacy, it his highly unlikely that this information will be available online anytime in the near future. Yanna Lambrinidou, a drinking water safety watchdog and affiliate faculty member at Virginia Tech, spoke at length with USA TODAY about how troubling is was that these regulators were hesitant to expose this information.
While most contaminants are filtered out at treatment plants, lead enters water near the end of the drinking system as it passes through lead pipes coming into homes or individual property. Testing in areas with clean pipes can lead to passed tests and false security:
That's what makes thorough tracking and transparency about the location of lead service lines important. If utilities test water at homes that have little or no lead in their plumbing, the results are unlikely to find contamination and can give a false sense of safety across the system, as they did in Flint, Lambrinidou said.