Five municipalities selected for lead pipe replacement program
Five municipalities were selected by the Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) to participate in a Lead-Free Water Challenge with the goal of helping them replace all of their lead pipes. The municipalities will receive technical assistance, connections to resources and funders, policy guidance and information sharing.
EPIC has teamed up with Blue Conduit, WaterPIO, Center for Geospatial Solutions and other partners to deliver technical assistance to these five municipalities. The Lead-Free Water Challenge is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Spring Point Partners. The chosen municipalities will receive technical assistance, connections to resources and funders, policy guidance, and information-sharing through peer networks.
“No one should have to live with the threat of lead in their drinking water, and our goal is to ensure that lead pipes in municipalities across the country become a thing of the past,” said Maureen Cunningham, deputy director of water at EPIC. “The Environmental Policy Innovation Center is thrilled to work with these five municipalities on their path of replacing all of their lead service lines and having lead-free water for all residents.”
Approximately 11,000 communities across the country have lead service lines, and face steep challenges to know how to get started, where their pipes are, how to secure funding and how to initiate a replacement program that is equitable for all residents. Municipalities from seven states applied for the Lead-Free Water Challenge. The five municipalities selected to participate are:
The City of Newburgh, N.Y., has an unknown number of lead service lines, and have started to remove them through state funding, but the city requires assistance in identifying how many and where the remaining lines are and obtaining the necessary funding to replace them.
“The City of Newburgh’s partnership with the Environmental Policy Innovation Center is a great step in the right direction towards a lead-free water distribution system. Our commitment to our customers for highest drinking water quality is and always will be our top priority,” said Wayne Vradenburgh, City of Newburgh water superintendent.
Part of Metro Detroit, the City of Highland Park, Mich., has already replaced approximately 200 lines out of 2,600 service connections, many of which are suspected to be lead. The city has begun an inventory to comply with Michigan’s Lead and Copper Rule.
“Eliminating lead in drinking water improves the quality of life for the residents of Highland Park and will make water affordable. However, given the age of the infrastructure, a strategy needs to be implemented. The City of Highland Park is excited to work with the Environmental Policy Innovation Center to develop strategies to achieve our goal of becoming lead-free,” said Damon L. Garrett, P.E., Highland Park water department director.
The City of Chelsea, Mass., is a suburb of Boston that has, to date, replaced 170 lines out of 5,000 service connections, with an estimated 100 lead lines or more remaining. The biggest needs for the city include managing the data they have, building a broad base of support and securing the funds to replace the remaining lead lines.
“The City of Chelsea is grateful for the opportunity to work with EPIC and their partners as part of the Lead-Free Water Challenge. The technical knowledge that the group brings will aid in the City of Chelsea’s mission to remove all lead service lines from the main to the meter. Over half the battle of this mission is identifying locations not easily found from record drawings throughout the years; the city will benefit tremendously from this outside insight and technical expertise” said Rebecca Wright, the City of Chelsea assistant city engineer.
The Village of Hazel Crest, Ill., is a suburb of Chicago with 1,105 service lines that are assumed and/or likely lead, which will cost approximately $8.8 to $11 million to replace.
“The Village of Hazel Crest is excited to be part of Environmental Policy Innovation Center’s Lead-Free Water Challenge. Village President Vernard L. Alsberry and our Board of Trustees understands that the identification and removal of lead service lines throughout the Village is a priority. EPIC’s Lead-Free Water Challenge moves our community closer to that goal,” said Dante Sawyer, Hazel Crest Village Manager.
The City of Fairmont, Minn., is predominantly a retirement community with an unknown number of lead lines. The city needs to develop an inventory to understand how many and where their lead lines are and accessing funding.
“The City of Fairmont, Minnesota, is pleased with the opportunity to work with the Environmental Policy Innovation Center to formalize our lead line replacement program. While we have worked informally for several years to replace lead service lines when discovered, we recognize the importance of a proactive approach to addressing our aging infrastructure,” said Doug Rainforth, City of Fairmont Water & Wastewater Superintendent.
“An actionable inventory is a key step to replacing lead service lines,” said Ian Robinson, Managing Director at BlueConduit. “We are excited to support communities in this program to assist them in getting the lead out of the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible. Lead service lines are present in communities of all sizes, and we are looking forward to helping communities to locate their lead service lines.”