Akron to replace lead water pipes with copper to improve water quality for 400 homes

AKRON, Ohio – Mayor Dan Horrigan announced Thursday that the city will use $ 2 million in grants to replace the lead water pipes with copper pipes that will serve approximately 400 households in 2021 and 2022.

Akron has received $ 1 million annually from the EPA in Ohio through a revolving water supply loan for two years. Money does not have to be paid back, the city said in a press release.

The city is trying to “replace as many lead services as possible while those funds are available,” the press release said. In 2021, around 150 houses were selected to replace pipes, and another 300 are to receive new pipes in 2022.

Homes were selected based on a map of the city’s geographic information system, which tracks the service line and house line material at each Akron residence. These homes were Akron Water customers with an identified lead service line or a house line with unknown material – likely lead or galvanized material.

“Akron has a long history of continuously improving our infrastructure to eliminate lead in our water supplies,” Horrigan said in the press release. “These funds will help us continue this mission of providing safe and reliable drinking water to our customers.”

Akron still has around 4,000 power lines, which, according to the city, make up almost 5% of the city’s lines. In the 1950s there were more than 50,000 lead service lines.

Akron has been testing its water for lead at customer taps since 1992, and the water has been regularly tested below the EPA limit. During the 2020 trial period, the city’s average was 0.00155 milligrams per liter, which is 90% below the EPA’s so-called “action level” of 0.015.

If, during the mitigation program, city workers discover that the resident’s house pipe is lead or galvanized, a third party contractor will replace the pipe with copper free of charge. The city says copper is a durable, corrosion-resistant, and environmentally friendly material.

Residents selected for the 2021-2022 program received letters in December 2020.

For more information on the senior service line exchange program, please contact Nick Marshall at the Water Technology Department at 330-375-2793 or [email protected]

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