EPA still Sweating Trump Cuts

United States President Donald Trump continues to make headlines and ruffle environmentalist feathers with proposed budget cuts. The town of Flint, Michigan is still very much recovering from its polluted water crisis which made headlines back in 2014. An increasing number of cities around the United States are reporting unsafe levels of lead as a result of old and poorly maintained pipe systems. Despite all this the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are facing significant budget cuts. The EPA helps provide state organizations with grants to monitor public water systems and these grants are set to be cut by almost a third, to $71 million from $102 million. These cuts will make it very difficult for States to police local water sources and increase the likelihood of illegal dumping and discharge thus risking the quality of drinking water for potentially millions of people.

There are currently a wide range of safety procedures in place and personnel dedicated to enforcing water quality standards. The Public Water System Supervision Grant Program has been critical in making sure communities have access to safe drinking water. In the state of Texas, for example, state-contracted workers collect drinking water samples across the state, an effort funded in part by federal grants.

As mentioned earlier, much of the risk to the United States public water supply is due to  the eroding infrastructure comprised of a  network of lead pipes, treatment plants and other outdated facilities built decades ago. Although the United States Congress banned the use of lead pipes in 1986, around 10 million of these old pipes still remain, primed to leach lead into tap water. The cost of completely overhauling the entire system would be astronomical but eventually the cost of repair, maintenance and decontamination will far surpass that cost, not to mention the risk to public health

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