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Interagency Task Force on Lead in Water
February 10, 2004




Dorothy Brizill
Bonnie Cain
Jim Dougherty
Gary Imhoff
Phil Mendelson
Mark David Richards
Sandra Seegars


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Interagency Task Force on Lead in Water

2/10/2004 draft


The purposes of this task force is to be a working group that will 1) find answers to questions of concern to the public and government arising out of the appearance of higher-than-normal levels of lead in certain samples of tap water in District of Columbia residences; 2) to ensure that all outlets are coordinated in communicating with the public; and 3) to provide an ongoing forum for relevant government entities to share information and develop responses.


The task force will be convened by the City Administrator and Chair of the Council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment during the week of February 9, 2004 and weekly thereafter, and will submit a report by April 9, 2004.


The task force will be composed with representation from the entities listed below.

  • Mayor (co-chair)
  • Chair of the Council
  • Chair of the Council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment (co-chair)
  • Chair of the Council's Committee on Health and Human Services
  • Chair of the Board of Directors of the DC Water and Sewer Authority 
  • Office of the City Administrator
  • DC Water and Sewer Authority
  • DC Department of Health
  • DC Department of Transportation
  • Washington Aqueduct

In order to fulfill its purpose, the task force may interact on an ad hoc basis with other governmental authorities, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency, the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, and the DC Public Schools.

In order to include scientific, environmental, and consumer perspectives, the task force will confer with relevant stakeholders and experts as appropriate.


The task force is established solely for the purpose stated above to work within the confines of the scope listed below. It is in no way intended to infringe upon the executive and management responsibilities of the Mayor and WASA Board of Directors, nor the legislative and oversight responsibilities of the Council. The task force will recommend its outcomes to the appropriate authorities for implementation, wherever such authorization is required.


The scope of the task force is confined to the following three prospective areas of focus.

  1. Communications
    1. Ensure the member entities share all relevant information as necessary to manage issues and to develop solutions relative to the current situation, defined as the higher-than-normal measured levels of lead in residential tap water. 
    2. Ensure all relevant basic information regarding hte current situation is communicated in a uniform, easy-to-understand, and credible manner to the public.
    3. Ensure the existence of means by which the public has access to on-call information, resources, and references, such as through adequately staffed and informed hotlines and updated websites. 
    4. Support the development of communications materials, protocols, and mechanisms in support of the two areas of focus below.
  2. Protocols
    1. Gather research regarding safe levels of lead in tap water in order to establish limits above which lead levels will be deemed unacceptable. 
    2. Establish protocols for current and ongoing testing of residential tap water, and other water uses if necessary, to determine extent of higher-than-acceptable levels of lead. Protocols will include means to monitor changes, to inform the public, and to provide the basis for any needed responses. 
    3. Identify those residences with higher-than-acceptable levels of lead in drinking water and establish protocols for current and ongoing testing of children, pregnant women, and other populations that may be vulnerable in those residences. Protocols will include means to monitor changes, to inform the public, and to provide the basis for any needed responses. 
    4. Establish means of communicating the above protocols to the public, including prospective, new, and existing customers; institutional users; businesses; visitors; and government officials. 
  3. Responses
    1. Determine the governmental response necessary to implement physical changes when lead levels are measured at levels above that which has been deemed acceptable. 
    2. Coordinate the work and resources of relevant governmental agencies such that the response is optimized.
    3. Develop an integrated work plan both for the response to the current situation and for ongoing resolution of problems as they are identified, in order to maintain the reality of and public confidence in the quality of the District's water. 
    4. Establish means of communicating the above actions to all relevant stakeholders.

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