By Brad Segall

BLUE BELL, Pa. (CBS) — It appears the Environmental Protection Agency is backing away from a regulation that would have affected cities and towns when they had to replace fire hydrants.

But US senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) says he wants to make sure the proposed rule is never implemented.

The EPA wanted to force local governments to replace old or malfunctioning hydrants with new, certified-lead-free hydrants, beginning in January.

Toomey’s concern is over enforcement of a 2011 law aimed at reducing lead in drinking water. He is co-sponsoring a bill that would permanently exclude hydrants from the law.

“It occurred to somebody that if a child drinks water from a fire hydrant, I suppose for days on end, he might eventually at some point consume enough lead that would cause a health problem.  Well, that’s a rather ridiculous premise.”

In addition, he says, cities and towns have thousands of dollars’ worth of hydrants and parts on shelves waiting to be used.  And at this point, he adds, nobody manufactures a completely lead-free fire hydrant.

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