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ESCANABA — Governor Gretchen Whitmer Thursday suggested that residents hit hard by water rate increases spurred by lead line replacement costs could see a return of their investment — if their municipalities agree to it.
“I think that when we help the municipalities they’ll be in a position to hopefully rebate some of those dollars,” Whitmer told the Daily Press during an exclusive interview.
Prompted by the fallout from the Flint water crisis, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) issued rules dictating municipalities were required to replace lead service lines at a rate of 5 percent of lines within their borders per year starting in 2021. The rules also changed to prohibit “partial line replacements,” where just the lead portion of a service was removed, such as a gooseneck connecting a water main and a residential service line. Any lines that are made of lead or are downstream of where lead is or previously was located are considered lead contaminated all the way to the in-home meter and must be replaced under the rules.
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