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CINCINNATI (WKRC)- There are lead service lines in the entire Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) system.
"We could find some houses that we test and find out there's undetectable traces of lead in the water," Jason DeLaet, the Enhanced Lead Program Manager for the Greater Cincinnati Water Works said. "We could go a couple houses down and then there are some higher detected levels of lead."
About 38,000 of the more than 43,000 homes with lead service lines are within the city of Cincinnati.
GCWW said the lead isn't creating an issue because the water works adds chemicals to keep the lead from leaching into your drinking water.
"We create an internal film on the lead service lines. So, think of it as a barrier between the water that is running through the lead service line and the actual lead material itself," DeLaet said.
When people hear lead pipes, most immediately think about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan when it switched its water supply several years ago.
"In the switch then, they decided for a time period, not to use corrosion control and because of that we ultimately see what happened," Jeff Swertfeger, the Superintendent of Water Quality for the Greater Cincinnati Water Works said. "Here in Cincinnati, we know the importance of corrosion control. We believe that, that's a very crucial step in water treatment and we make sure we do a great job with that every day."
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Today, EDF and collaborators at Cornell published a new study that provides insight into how disclosure policies can impact potential home-buyer and renter behavior. This effort builds on a report EDF published in 2017 grading state housing disclosure policies according to their ability to help homebuyers make informed decisions about lead service lines (LSLs) before they sign a sales contract. LSLs are pipes that connect homes to the water mains under the street and are a major source of lead in drinking water. Four states — Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania — and Washington, DC scored an A-. Twenty-one states scored a D or F. The remaining 25 states scored a B or C.
Our analysis was based on a presumption that if potential homeowners are told that a home has an LSL, many would negotiate with the property owner for its removal, whether by having the seller replace it or building the cost into the mortgage to fund the buyer’s replacement. This was a reasonable presumption that underlies why sellers are required to disclose property defects and environmental hazards in many states.
Domestic groundwater wells in the eastern and southeastern U.S. at risk of lead contamination
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About one-third of more than 8,300 wells tested across the U.S. had groundwater with chemical characteristics that could cause lead, if present in plumbing, to leach into tap water at levels above the EPA Action Level, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Program. These characteristics are most common in groundwater in the East and Southeast.
Lead can dissolve into water if the water corrodes a lead-containing material such as lead pipes, lead solder, or brass fittings. The USGS study used measured chemical characteristics of groundwater from more than 8,300 wells tapping groundwater to estimate the potential solubility of lead for each sample. Groundwater with low pH, low alkalinity, and/or low phosphate concentrations had the greatest lead solubility potentials.
Nationwide, about 33% of untreated groundwater samples had the potential to dissolve 15 micrograms per liter or more of lead, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Action Level for lead in treated water from public drinking water supplies, and 5% had the potential to dissolve 300 micrograms per liter or more of lead. The states with the greatest percentage of wells producing untreated groundwater with a high lead solubility potential (300 micrograms per liter or greater) were Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels.
Newark Breaks Ground On $75 Million Project To Remove 1,500 Lead Service Lines On Private Property
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NEWARK (CBSNewYork) – After years of controversy surrounding lead in the water, Newark is taking a big step toward making its drinking water safer for residents.
Sporting a hard hat and a golden shovel, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka broke ground on a water infrastructure modernization plan.
Baraka acknowledged it will be a long road to fix the systemic problem, but said it’s a start.
“Bittersweet for the city of Newark. Bittersweet in the sense that we still have to deal with lead service lines in our city, but we have been working hard to get to this point,” he said.
A result of the joint efforts of the state and city, Baraka says the $78 million raised will go toward replacing 15,000 city lead service lines. All of them are in residential neighborhoods with a long lead history.
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NORTH PROVIDENCE – The town continues to be a trailblazer when it comes to its lead pipe replacement program, with officials planning to spend another $355,376 in federal grant funds this year to replace another 100 or so connections.
Mayor Charles Lombardi said he’s proud that North Providence remains the only community in the state taking such an aggressive approach to lead pipe replacements, paying the fee while residents in other communities have to pay their own way.
North Providence completed about 70 connections last year, using $270,376 in Community Development Block Grant funds, leading to the town winning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Children’s Health Award last fall.
Most connections done last year were in the Centredale area, said Lombardi, with a few more in Marieville. That work on the eastern edge of town will continue this year, with available funds required to be used by Dec. 19.
$10 in benefits for every $1 invested – Minnesota estimates benefits of lead service line replacement
Environmental Defense Fund
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Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released a report estimating that investing $4 billion in virtually eliminating lead in drinking water over 20 years would provide societal benefits of more than $8 billion. The state agency only counted the societal benefits from avoiding the loss of IQ points due to children’s exposure to lead.
Replacing lead service lines (LSLs) – the lead pipes that connect a building’s plumbing to the water main under the street – yielded the greatest benefit with an investment of $0.228 to $0.365 billion yielding $2.118 to $4.235 billion in benefits. Replacing lead fixtures and solder had a lower, but still significant, return on the investment.
Based on this analysis, MDH recommended as high priority that the state conduct an inventory of LSLs and that LSLs be removed “at a measured pace” of 20 years. It also recommended undertaking as a medium priority an awareness campaign focused on the danger of lead in drinking water to formula-fed infants younger than nine months old and as a low priority a general public information campaign to prompt homeowners and renters to take action if they have an LSL.
Water Quality Products Magazine
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The report identifies and 2-for-1 return on investment in removing lead pipes and cleaning up drinking water
A new report by the Minnesota Health Department and the University of Minnesota found that while it would cost more than $4 billion to replace the state’s lead service lines, the investment would bring a return on investment. Ultimately, the report found that the large project would bring a 2-for-1 return on investment.
According to Minnesota Public Radio, this marks the first time health officials have put a price tag on removing the more than 100,000 lead service pipes that run through the state, as well as removing plumbing and fixtures in homes that contain lead. EPA studies from 2008 found that lead service lines contribute to roughly half of the lead contamination in drinking water from public systems.
"As we see in many other areas of public health, preventing a health problem is more cost effective than waiting for a health problem to develop and then treating it," Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement.
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