EPA to retreat on maligned fire hydrant regs

The Environmental Protection Agency will revise rules requiring cities to use lead-free fittings for new fire hydrants following a bipartisan uproar from federal lawmaker who said the requirements would be too expensive, Bloomberg reports.

In October, the EPA issued guidance saying that fire hydrants would be covered by the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, which mandates the use of lead-free pipes to transmit drinking water.

The guidance was based on a finding that fire hydrants are sometimes used to deliver drinking water.

But it ran into staunch opposition this month in the House, The House easily passed legislation, which voted 384-0, to exempt fire hydrants from coverage under the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act.

A similar push appears to be gathering steam in the Senate, according to The Hill's Floor Action blog.

But in a statement to Bloomberg, the EPA said it would move on its own.

“Fire hydrants are not widely used as a potable source of water,” the agency said in an emailed statement today. “The guidance should be revised to exclude fire hydrants if Congress doesn’t take action.”

Check out the full Bloomberg story here.