April 13, 2022

Duckworth, Young, Kildee Re-Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Families from Lead in Federally Assisted Housing


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Fisheries, Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and U.S. Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI-05) re-introduced bipartisan legislation to protect families living in assisted housing from lead found in drinking water. The Get the Lead out of Assisted Housing Act would help protect families from lead exposure by requiring the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to inspect for lead service lines, create a grant program to address lead contamination and allow a cross-check for lead in water when remediating a home for lead found in paint.

“It’s unacceptable that in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, families living in federally assisted housing remain at risk of suffering permanent brain damage as a result of drinking water contaminated with lead,” Duckworth said. “With my Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act fully authorized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re already taking historic strides to get the lead out of our drinking water in communities across the country and help make sure everyone has access to clean water. Today’s bipartisan legislation would build on this progress and help ensure no family is overlooked.”

“Families shouldn’t have to face the threat of lead contamination in their drinking water or in their homes,” Young said. “That’s why we are reintroducing our bipartisan Get Lead Out of Assisted Housing Act to require HUD to identify and address lead contamination at the source. This must happen to protect the health of Hoosier families and communities across the country.” 

“There is no safe level of lead, and the Flint water crisis taught us that we cannot take the safety of our drinking water for granted,” Kildee said. “Families in Michigan and across the country should be able to trust that they are safe from lead in their drinking water at home. Our legislation takes an important step toward making that a reality by requiring water testing in federally assisted housing. Protecting families from lead in their homes is not a partisan issue, and I am proud to work with Republicans and Democrats to keep Michigan families safe from lead.”

Along with Duckworth, Young and Kildee, this legislation is also co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

The Get the Lead out of Assisted Housing Act would help protect families from lead exposure by:

  • Directing the Secretary of HUD to update the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) to include inspecting for lead in service lines and lead in plumbing.
  • Creating a Healthy Homes Lead in Drinking Water Grant pilot program to provide grants to states and local governments responsible for developing consolidated plans for community development. These funds would be used to identify the threats posed by lead in drinking water and take steps to protect residents. Activities under this grant program include creating a lead service line inventory, testing for lead in the drinking water at child care centers and schools, testing for lead at public facilities like public water fountains and remediation.
  • Including testing, notification and controlling for lead in drinking water when providing grants for the lead-based paint hazard reduction program. This will ensure that when a home that contains lead-based paint is being remediated, that lead in the drinking water can also be addressed if a threat exists in the same home.
  • Ensuring HUD has the authority it needs to address lead contamination from water, air or industrial sources in consultation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The copy of the bill text can be found here.

Duckworth has been a strong supporter of improving our nation’s water infrastructure, especially in historically disadvantaged communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law fully authorizes Duckworth’s bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA), which is helping rebuild our nation’s crumbling and dangerous water infrastructure, remove and replace lead service lines as well as clean up our drinking water and wastewater systems in communities across the country. As a result of her leadership, Illinois—which contains the most known lead service lines of any state in the nation—will be able to dramatically accelerate projects to remove dangerous lead pipes and protect countless children against permanent, irreversible brain damage from drinking lead-contaminated water. As co-founder of the Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus, Duckworth understands that the presence of lead pipes disproportionally impact low-income communities and communities of color and will continue to work hard to ensure these programs prioritize communities that need it the most.