"It was a controversial move when Madison, Wis., decided to replace all its lead pipes in 2001. But that decision put the city ahead of the curve — allowing it to avoid the lead water contamination that is plaguing cities like Flint, Mich., now.
Madison started using copper instead of lead water pipes in the late 1920s. The bulk of the lead lines were located in the older part of the city, which is downtown near Wisconsin's state Capitol.
Sue Bauman, the city's mayor from 1997 to 2003, lives there now.
"I remember one day, one of my mayoral aides came in and said he had met with the water utility and there was this issue about these lead pipes, and I'm like, 'What?' " Bauman says.
EPA released its lead and copper rule in 1991, setting limits on the concentration of lead and copper in drinking water. A year after that, the city's water utility learned that 10 percent of the samples from the city's water showed higher levels of lead than the EPA allowed. That was also the case five years later."