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Report On CDC Has D.C. Residents Looking For More Answers On Lead Contamination

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William Walker (left), chairman of D.C.'s Water and Sewer Authority's board of directors, along with WASA's new General Manager George Hawkins (right), have won praise from some residents.
Jonathan Wilson
William Walker (left), chairman of D.C.'s Water and Sewer Authority's board of directors, along with WASA's new General Manager George Hawkins (right), have won praise from some residents.

By Jonathan Wilson

D.C.'s Water and Sewer Authority says the city's drinking water has been safe since a spike in lead levels detected in 2004. But a congressional report questioning lead analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some residents asking for more answers.

The safe lead level designated by the Environmental Protection Agency is 15 parts per billion.

WASA chief George Hawkins says D.C. levels have been well below that since 2004.

"We've changed the chemistry of the water, that reduces the amount of lead leaching into the water, which is why we're getting low numbers," says Hawkins.

But Hawkins says there are still many lead lines in the District, and that can mean high levels for certain customers. WASA provides free testing for homeowners who want their water evaluated.

Yanna Lambrinidou, president of a parent group formed in response to the lead crisis, says there are still questions residents want answered, and since trust in the CDC may be eroding, D.C. agencies have an opportunity.

"Set the record straight for us here in D.C., and we can finally start getting correct public health messages," says Lambrinidou.

The city's Department of Environment has plans for another lead study, but says it doesn't have the funding to complete it.

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