EPA announces $6.5B to tackle critical drinking water challenges, including lead and ‘forever chemicals’

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency today announced more than $6.5 billion for essential drinking water infrastructure projects and upgrades across the country. The funds will help tackle contamination from lead, the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS and more.

The funds are part of President Joe Biden’s 2022 bipartisan infrastructure law, which set aside $15 billion to replace lead pipes and other important upgrades to the nation’s water systems. 

The EPA said it is dedicating $3 billion of the $6.5 billion announced today to removing and replacing lead pipes. The agency estimates there are roughly 9.2 million lead service lines providing water to homes, schools and businesses throughout the U.S.

There is no safe level of lead exposure. Lead is a potent neurotoxin that can permanently damage children’s brain and nervous systems. Lead exposure in children is also associated with behavioral and learning problems. In 2016, the American Water Works Association estimated that 15 to 22 million Americans drink water from a system with lead-based service lines.

“We applaud the Biden administration and the EPA for these historic investments in the nation’s drinking water infrastructure,” said Melanie Benesh, Environmental Working Group vice president for government affairs.

“The country’s drinking water supply and the infrastructure that delivers and treats it have been crumbling for decades – and have failed to protect children and other vulnerable populations from being exposed to lead, PFAS and other harmful contaminants,” she said.

In a press release, the EPA said it is also providing $800 million to address PFAS and other contaminants, and $2.2 billion for other critical U.S. drinking water system improvements. 

To learn more about the state of the nation’s drinking water and which contaminants have been detected by every public water utility in the U.S., visit EWG’s Tap Water Database.

To find out more about PFAS contamination in drinking water, visit EWG’s PFAS mapping project.


The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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