Leyva Lead-Free Drinking Water Bill Signed Into Law

SB 427 Builds Upon Previous Clean Water Legislation Authored by Senator Leyva

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

SACRAMENTO – After earning bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 427 authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that will further ensure the safety of drinking water in California.

SB 427 provides clarification to SB 1398 (Chapter 731, Statutes of 2016) which improved the safety of drinking water by protecting Californians from toxic lead exposure.  Specifically, SB 1398—which took effect on January 1, 2017—requires all California public water systems to compile inventories of lead pipes in use and provide that information to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).  SB 427 specifies a timeline for replacement of service lines that contain lead and those lines whose content cannot be determined.  This important bill also ensures that the SWRCB has the authority to enforce the provisions of last year’s SB 1398.

“Governor Jerry Brown’s signature of SB 427 emphasizes that every Californian should be able to turn on their taps and know that the water provided to their home is lead-free,” Senator Leyva said.  “On the heels of SB 1398’s enactment last year, SB 427 will get us even closer to the goal of making sure that water flowing out of faucets is completely clean and safe from lead or other contaminants.  I am thankful to the Governor and my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this common sense measure that will remove any unintended ambiguity from last year’s legislation and confirms that there are no significant delays in eliminating lead from our drinking water.”

In recent decades, California has been a leader in reducing lead exposure in drinking water.  In 1986, the use of lead pipes and solder were banned.  By 2010, all plumbing parts and water fixtures sold in California were required to be ‘lead-free.’  Given the detrimental health impacts of lead, even in very low levels, it is critical that California continues to take every step necessary to eliminate lead in drinking water.  From 2012 - 2015, 98 public water systems in the state recorded levels of lead that exceeded the allowable lead amounts.  Once fully implemented, SB 427 will help to minimize and ultimately eliminate instances where the health of thousands of families is placed at risk from lead tainted water.

SB 427 takes effect on January 1, 2018 and was supported by the California Association of Professional Scientists, Clean Water Action, Community Water Center, East Bay Municipal Utility District and Environmental Working Group during the legislative process.