UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.2029
March 4, 2004
Mr. Robert C. Bobb
City Administrator and Deputy Mayor
Government of the
District of Columbia
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue,
N.W. Suite 310
Washington, DC 20004
Dear Mr. Bobb:
This is a followup to our meeting on March 2, and my call
today with Edward Reiskin, your Chief of Staff, where we discussed our
concerns about the lead in drinking water issue within the District of Columbia (D.C.) and the
appropriate governmental response.
During our discussions, you indicated your intention to
undertake appropriate actions to require the D.C. Water and Sewer
Authority (WASA) to provide a safe, alternate supply of water to D.C.
residents among other short-term actions. You also instructed us to make
further contact with the Emergency Management Agency officials you have
designated to lead the City's response effort in this area. In our
subsequent meetings and discussions with these individuals, we are not
satisfied that the requisite actions to address this urgent concern are
Listed below are specific interim actions which EPA
believes WASA must undertake to respond to the immediate threat:
- Make available as soon as feasible,
but within 30 days, an interim alternative supply of drinking water to all users supplied by WASA who are
believed to receive their water through known or suspected lead service lines. The goal
is to provide an alternate water source or filters to the 23,000 homes with lead service
- A plan describing the implementation
of this provision must be provided to the District of Columbia and EPA within 3 days. Bottled water and/or
filters must be certified by the appropriate certifying organizations.
- Report progress on this distribution
plan periodically to EPA and the District of Columbia.
- A plan for sampling and analysis of
homes and other buildings - including schools and day care centers - in
the District that arc not known or suspected to be served by lead
service lines to determine whether homes and other buildings not served
by lead service lines may also be experiencing excessive concentrations
of lead in the water. Sampling must follow EPA protocol.
- Inform all residents affected (not
just bill paying customers) of the program for providing alternate water
and periodically reissue notices of the availability of alternate water.
- Periodically offer maintenance or
re-supply the alternate water source (replacement filters e.g.) per
standards certified by NSF or other appropriate certifying agencies.
- Ensure that Point-of-Use filter
devices, if used, are certified as effective at the higher levels
detected in D.C. (> 150ppb); NSF International testing only applies
to <150 ppb.
- Test all lead service line locations during 2004 and
accelerate the physical replacement of lead service lines to the maximum
- Expedite notification to customers of the results of
water sampling at their residences.
- Develop a public education plan that will successfully
convey a sense of urgency in all communications with the public about
the lead issue.
To provide EPA with adequate assurance that the District
will take action to protect public health, I am requesting that you
provide me with a written. statement of your commitment to require WASA
to undertake the actions noted above. It is vitally important that we
receive your response no later than 2:00 pm on Friday, March 5. In the
event you are not able to make such a commitment, EPA is prepared to
exercise its authorities to address these issues discussed earlier.
Should you have questions or wish to discuss this
further, feel free to contact me or Thomas C. Voltaggio, Deputy Regional
Administrator at 215-814-2908. My fax number is (215) 8142901.
Donald S. Welsh
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GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
March 5, 2004
Glenn S. Gerstell, Chairman
Jerry N. Johnson, Executive Director
District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority
Overlook Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20032
Dear Messrs. Gerstell and Johnson:
We recognize your significant efforts in the past month
to respond to the lead issue that is of great concern to all District
residents. Clearly WASA has been under immense pressure and has
mobilized considerable resources to deal with the situation. We also
appreciate your participation in the District's Interagency
Lead-in-Water Task Force and the Emergency Management Agency's working
group, both of which have improved the District's overall response.
Those efforts notwithstanding, we are herewith formally
directing WASA to execute the actions delineated in the attached letter
from the US Environmental Protection Agency. We are taking this step to
ensure that we are adequately providing for the safety of our community.
Please be assured that the District government continues
to stand ready to support this effort. Be assured as well that we will
continue our efforts to secure resources from the federal government,
particularly the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental
Protection Agency, the entities responsible respectively for the supply
and regulation of our drinking water.
Please respond to us by Monday, March 8 to confirm your
receipt of this letter and by Wednesday, March 10 to provide your plan
of action for completion of these items.
Thank you for your efforts to date.
Anthony A. Williams, Mayor
Carol Schwartz, Chair, Council Committee on Public Works & Environment