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Government and People
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
April 20, 2004
| John Abbot
At-Large D.C. Councilmember Carol Schwartz introduced legislation today that would require the owner of a multi-family residential building to have a lead-level test of the tap water in the building conducted if a rental tenant or an owner-occupier of a unit in the building requests the testing.
"Concerns about lead in the water are not limited to residents in single-family homes," Ms. Schwartz said. "We have a lot of cooperatives, condominiums and apartments, including public housing, in this city, and the occupiers of these dwellings have a right to know about the water coming from their taps. This legislation would accomplish that."
The bill, co-introduced by Councilmember Sharon Ambrose, would require building owners to order lead test kits from the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) within 10 calendar days of receiving a written request. The results would be provided to the tenants and posted conspicuously in the building. Building owners would be subject to a penalty of $100 per day of noncompliance.
The bill was co-sponsored by Chairman Cropp and Councilmembers Allen, Catania, Chavous, Evans, Graham and Mendelson.
Also, at a five-hour hearing last night on the lead-in-water issue, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informed Ms. Schwartz that the originally scheduled date for complete implementation of the treatment of drinking water with orthophosphates, which should reduce the leaching of lead, may be moved up from the previously targeted September 1 date to mid-July.
Mr. Jon M. Capacasa, Director of EPA's Region III Water Protection Division, told the Committee on Public Works and the Environment that due to successful desktop analysis, the full implementation schedule may be modified considerably. Mr. Capacasa also stated that the water could temporarily turn a red or mud color once the new chemicals are added. Ms. Schwartz urged the EPA to conduct a thorough and vigorous public information campaign prior to the change.
Also at last night's oversight hearing, the Committee's sixth on the lead-in-water issue, Ms. Schwartz announced that she and the Mayor had agreed to dissolve the Interagency Task Force on Lead in Water on April 22 with the issuance of a final report. Ms. Schwartz and the Mayor created and co-chaired the Task Force.
"The Mayor and I have agreed that the Task Force's highest priority -- which has been to ensure coordination and cooperation among the agencies involved in addressing the problem -- has been achieved," said Ms. Schwartz. "We are confident that the appropriate individuals and agencies will continue to cooperate and coordinate as need be, and will continue to rely on one another and assist one another to ensure that this problem is addressed and resolved. We will both remain involved in our various capacities."
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