City program helps Eau Claire community replace lead pipes

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Pure water is the meaning behind Eau Claire’s name. The city is working to make these words come true for everyone.

Lane Berg, head of Eau Claire township, said keeping leadership at a safe level was a priority.

“We add lime to our water to change the pH and not make the water corrosive,” said Berg. “The lime we add to our water also covers the inside of our pipes. That is why in the town of Eau Claire we have done things forever and ever to protect our citizens from lead.”

Another way to keep the water supply secure is to swap out the lead pipes.

It is known that 2,700 city service lines have lead pipes.

There is no official number on private property, but Berg estimates that 900 private service lines will also need to be replaced.

In 2017 and 2018, the city of Eau Claire received funding from the DNR’s Safe Drinking Water Loan Program to help community members pay for upgrades.

The typical cost of repairing lead pipes is anywhere from $ 2,200 to $ 2,600. The program reimburses the homeowner $ 2,000.

“We encourage people to use the program because at this point we have money to help them replace,” said Berg. “Who knows in the future? We may not have the money for it. “

The city is again requesting more government funding to keep this program going and to help all who need it.

If you’re not sure if your home has lead pipes, Berg says homes built in the 1950s or earlier may be at risk.

He said a simple test at home would be to see if a magnet was stuck to the pipe near the water meter.

If it sticks, you may have lead pipes as these tend to be galvanized.

You can find more information about the program offered in the city HERE.

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