News Briefs: EPA Finds Water Filters Effective at Removing Lead in Benton Harbor

Also in this week's sewer and water news, the Water Quality Association offers lead pipe resources for New Jersey residents after more than 180,000 households find out they're served by lead lines

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released the results from a water filter study conducted in Benton Harbor, Michigan. After analyzing water samples from about 200 homes, results show that when used properly, filters are effective at reducing lead in drinking water.

“No family should ever have to worry about the quality of water coming from their tap and the Benton Harbor community is no exception,” says EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “The information collected in Benton Harbor expands our existing knowledge that filters are effective at removing lead, affirming our confidence in their use nationwide. However, using a water filter addresses the symptom and not the cause of the problem, which is why EPA is committed to President Biden’s goal of removing 100% of lead pipes, the primary source of lead in drinking water across the country.”

During November and December 2021, EPA scientists tested unfiltered and filtered water at about 200 locations in Benton Harbor. The EPA determined that when installed, maintained and used properly, filters are effective at reducing lead in drinking water. However, the agency found residents need better information to install and operate filters properly. The EPA plans to support the state of Michigan and local governments to disseminate information about the safe and effective use of filters.

WQA Offers Lead Resources for New Jersey Residents

More than 180,000 New Jersey households are currently facing the news that their homes are being served by lead service lines that will ultimately need to be replaced. The Water Quality Association recently offered support and resources that can help consumers understand issues associated with lead contamination and methods of home water treatment.

WQA offers easy-to-understand information on lead, including a video titled “Five Things to Know About Lead” on its consumer website, Better Water Today. Consumers also can access Frequently Asked Questions about lead or download a technical fact sheet through the association’s website,

WQA also offers the expertise and guidance of its technical staff and water treatment providers. 

A reported 186,830 households — about 6% of New Jersey’s total — received certified letters from their local water departments recently in response to a new state law that requires community water systems to inventory lead service lines and replace them all within 10 years. The water companies are responsible for determining how to pay the costs of replacing the pipes from the main to the residence.

CDC Sees Limited Participation in National Wastewater Surveillance System

After Bloomburg reported recently that one third of the Centers for Disease Control’s wastewater sample sites showed a rise in COVID-19 cases, the agency confirmed that it has seen a rise in the detection of the disease in early March sampling.

“While wastewater levels are generally very low across the board, we are seeing an uptick of sites reporting an increase,” Amy Kirby, who heads the CDC’s wastewater monitoring program, told NBC News. “These bumps may simply reflect minor increase from very low levels to still low levels.”

In related news, despite federal officials’ intent to create a comprehensive early warning system for COVID-19 in the National Wastewater Surveillance System, it is seeing limited participation among states.

Only a dozen states are submitting data regularly to NWSS, and those include California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to Politico. The information coming from those participating states is fairly thin, as well. For instance, most of California’s collection sites are located in the Bay Area.


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