Equity in Lead Service Line Replacement
One of the founding principles of the Collaborative is that “LSL replacement initiatives must benefit consumers served by LSLs in an equitable manner without regard to income, race or ethnicity.” Inequities are often presented as environmental justice or civil rights concerns.
This principle is consistent with the 1994 Presidential Order that directs federal agencies to “make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States and its territories and possessions.”
There is no bright line defining whether an effort is equitable or not. A project may be inequitable even when done with the best of intentions.
For an LSL replacement program to be equitable, a community:
LSL replacement can raise environmental justice concerns and, as a policy matter, suggests the need to explicitly consider households at greatest risk, including household ability to participate in a full-replacement program.
Potential Civil Rights Issues
Equity and environmental justice is an important consideration in developing a sustainable and successful collaboration. If the LSL replacement program is in any way funded by the federal government, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows a person who believes they are disproportionately impacted based on race, color, or national origin to file a complaint with the funding agency such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If the agency finds a disproportionate impact, even if the impact was not intentional, it would either require the problem be eliminated or cut off federal funds that support the program. As of November 20, 2016, the agency does not appear to have received a complaint regarding LSL replacement programs.