Environmental Defense Fund
Tom Neltner, Lindsay McCormick, and Audrey McIntosh
Most communities have a general sense of how many lead service lines (LSLs) they have and what neighborhoods have them. The utilities that manage these community water systems (CWSs) base their estimates on installation and maintenance records, size and age of the service line, and professional experience supplemented with field investigations. It is the 80:20 rule in action; most utilities know enough to scope out the problem, develop a strategy, and set broad priorities.
Utilities hesitate when they are expected to provide precise numbers or say with confidence whether a specific address has or does not have a LSL. It is especially difficult for older neighborhoods where records are particularly weak and there are long histories of repairs.
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