6 to 12 million lead pipes carry drinking water to millions of people in the U.S., per latest estimate
Washington | January 27, 2023 — At the White House today, water analytics leader BlueConduit unites with over 100 organizations for a summit to expedite the removal of lead in drinking water across the U.S. The event officially launches the Biden-Harris Get the Lead Out Partnership.
The inaugural partnership:
- Includes the federal government, states, tribes, local communities, water utilities, labor unions, and private companies.
- Plans to replace 100% of the nation’s lead service lines in 10 years.
- Will meet several times each year to identify new opportunities and measures to take.
“BlueConduit’s mission focuses on using data science and innovation to enable and empower communities to get the lead out, efficiently and equitably,” said Eric Schwartz, co-founder of BlueConduit. “This partnership is a crucial step in combating lead exposure in our country, multiplying our combined efforts to exponentially reduce the number of days families live with the risk.”
In December 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency released its Lead and Copper Rule Revision, which requires all U.S. water systems to develop lead service line inventories by October 2024. The EPA included BlueConduit’s work and predictive modeling in its Service Line Inventory Guidance. The water analytics company originated the approach of using machine learning to predict the location of lead pipes and is working with cities to help meet their inventory deadline.
“It’s estimated there are 6 to 12 million lead pipes carrying water to millions of people, but finding exactly where the lead pipes are has been a massive challenge. It can take cities years to find and replace them, costing tens of millions of dollars,” said Schwartz, who also serves as a professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
BlueConduit began lead pipe predictions in 2016 in Flint, Michigan. Using publicly available data, its software has supported over 100 communities in the United States and Canada to reduce the number of days residents live with the risk of lead exposure.
“We were thrilled to join our grantee Blue Conduit at the first-ever White House Lead Pipes Summit,” said Doris Sullivan, Managing Director for Innovation at The Rockefeller Foundation. “We’re so proud to see Blue Conduit’s incredible work highlighted alongside the announcement of the Biden-Harris Get the Lead Out Partnership which commits to delivering clean drinking water, replacing lead pipes, and remediating lead paint to protect communities across America – a mission The Rockefeller Foundation believes in deeply.”
By April 2023, BlueConduit’s nationwide lead location predictions will be available on an interactive map, allowing the public to find out the status of their water systems.
BlueConduit, the pioneer in using data science to find lead pipes, has applied machine learning models across over 100 communities and water systems in 15 states. Their predictions have enabled utilities to locate lead in greater than 80% of attempted replacements, accelerating the removal of lead and lowering the cost per successful replacement. Access to the BlueConduit platform is supported for disadvantaged communities in part through grants from Google.org and The Rockefeller Foundation.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation that enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal and sustainable. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to health care and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.
The Rockefeller Foundation
+1 212 852 0000