WEAU 13 News
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It was about four years ago in Flint, Michigan, when lead was discovered in the municipal water supply causing several deaths and even more long term ailments.
Because of that, Eau Claire city officials say limiting the use of lead pipes has been their top priority.
Director of Community Services, Jeff Pippenger, says some of Eau Claire’s city water pipes are more than 100 years old.
"We have approximately 792 lead service lines that are remaining on the city side of the service,” he said.
But there are even more on private property.
"On the customer side, that number is a little larger because prior to 2017, we were replacing old water mains that had lead lines associated with them and not all property owners replaced those at that time,” Pippenger said.
On Tuesday, the city council passed a new ordinance that will replace all lead service lines over the next 15 years, starting with the area around Chippewa Street and Second Avenue, and eventually moving to other parts of the city.
"The new ordinance ensures that the public portion and private portion are replaced at the same time,” said Kate Beaton of the Eau Claire City Council.
The new ordinance will also provide funding for home owners to replace their old pipes using federal grants, with the average price of replacement being around $2,400.
"Our people will work with individuals to kind of establish their funding need, but as a baseline, everyone in the city is entitled to $2,000 for replacement of that lead piping,” Beaton said.
The old pipes are lined with a small lining of lead, and when the city treats the water, they use liquid lime to coat the inside of the pipe and make sure the lead lining never gets exposed.
Pippenger says if that lining were to get exposed, there could be major consequences to the city's drinking water and your health.
"It causes learning disabilities, brain damage, and damage to the nervous system,” Pippenger said. “In some cases it can even cause damage to the kidneys and high levels for a long period of time can even cause death.”
Beaton says people should not be alarmed, as the old pipes are still working just fine.
"Folks shouldn't panic if they see that their house does have lead but they are free to call city staff and work through any questions and concerns that they have,” she said.
For a map that highlights the areas still using lead pipe water mains, click here.
The map is on page 100 of the Eau Claire City Council January, 14th meeting packet.
Janesville’s City Manager is defending a City Council decision this week to requiring property owners to remove privately owned lead water lines.
Mark Freitag says the individual property owners aren’t the only people being exposed to that lead.
Freitag says the lead lines are a hazard for everyone because when City workers depressurize the water lines to do repairs, water from individual homes flows back into the system.
Freitag says the City has cost assistance and grants available to help residents pay for the cost of replacement which typically runs around $5000 or less.
Brenden Moore, State Journal Register
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Members of the Springfield City Council are giving City Water, Light and Power the green light to borrow $1 million from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to help fund the utility’s effort to replace Springfield’s remaining lead service lines over the next 30 years.
Council members voted in Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting to place the ordinance on the consent agenda for next week’s City Council meeting, meaning it is all but assured of passage.
Basically, if awarded by the state, the funds would be used to assist low-income home owners in the replacement of the customer-owned portion of the service line along with contracting work to repair streets, sidewalks and landscaping impacted by construction.
See the full article and video here.
Some 450 homes in Somerville have lead in their drinking water – 3.6 percent of all homes – and their residents have been drinking lead laden water for years. Next spring, the Engineering Division will finally begin replacing those pipes, thanks to a state program.
Construction Liaison and Compliance Manager, Jesse Moos explained that the City of Somerville (Official) will select 70 priority residents during the first phase of the program that will begin April 2020. The contractors will perform "excavation" which is an extraction of the pipe without having to dig up the entire length of the pipe, he said.
David Hunter, NJ Biz
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Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law on Thursday to allow municipalities to enter New Jersey homes to replace lead service pipes.
Under the law, a municipality is authorized to enter a person’s property to perform lead service line replacements after providing notice to the owner and any residents at least 72 hours in advance of scheduled work.
Assembly Democrats Eliana Pintor Marin, D-29th District; Shanique Speight, D-29th District; and Gary Schaer, D-36th District, sponsored Assembly Bill 5854 that became law immediately.
Galesburg residents, especially households in which a child has tested positive for elevated lead blood levels, are strongly encouraged to apply for the next round of the Lead Hazard Remediation Grant.
The program has started providing lead hazard remediation at no cost to homeowners and tenants. In the fall, WGIL reported that thus far, 1,300 lead service lines have been replaced – and another 500 are slated for replacement by March.
The program targets low-to-moderate-income, privately-owned, owner-occupied and rental units throughout the community. A family of four can qualify for the grant with an annual income of $52,050 or less. In order to be considered for the program, homes must be located within the city limits of Galesburg, be built before 1978, and contain lead-based paint hazards.
“I did a number-stat thing a couple of years ago (and) 80% of the housing stock (in Galesburg) was built before 1978 and that’s when lead paint was outlawed,” said Housing Coordinator Judy Gunseth.
“We haven’t had a lot of new construction, so a lot of our dwellings do test positive for lead paint. We also have the issue that many of the subdivided older homes are subdivided into rental units. Low-income people are in those rental units and a lot of times there are small children with them too.”
Applicants who are unsure if their home or rental unit have lead-based paint hazards, or if they meet program criteria are encouraged to submit an application for review. An assessment of any lead-based paint hazards in the home will be conducted as part of the application process.
A link to the City’s website for lead applications is here.
The Evening Sun
NORWICH – The City of Norwich Department of Public Works (DPW) announced at the common council meeting Monday night they will begin work to replace all lead water pipes throughout the city.
According to DPW Superintendent Edward Pepe, this will be a two year project with most of the replacements taking place in the summer of 2020 and 2021.
The city is recommending homeowners who have lead pipes to participate in the replacement program this year, so the city can be compensated by the state for improvements.
See the full article from The Evening Sun.
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