Five Municipalities Selected for Lead Pipe Replacement Program

Five communities have been selected by the Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) to take part in a lead-free water challenge with the aim of helping them replace all of their lead pipes. The communities receive technical assistance, connections to resources and donors, policy guidance and information sharing.

EPIC has partnered with Blue Conduit, WaterPIO, Center for Geospatial Solutions, and other partners to provide technical support to these five communities. The Lead-Free Water Challenge is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Spring Point Partners. The selected communities receive technical assistance, connections to resources and donors, policy guidance and information exchange through peer networks.

“Nobody should have to live with the threat of lead in their drinking water, and our goal is to ensure that lead pipes are a thing of the past in communities across the country,” said Maureen Cunningham, deputy water director at EPIC. “The Innovation Center for Environmental Policy is pleased to be working with these five municipalities on the way to replace all of their lead connections and provide unleaded water for all residents.”

Approximately 11,000 communities across the country have senior utilities and are faced with major challenges in knowing how to start, where their pipes are, how to secure funding, and how to start a replacement program that is fair for all residents. Municipalities from seven states have applied for the Lead-Free Water Challenge. The five municipalities selected to participate are:

The City of Newburgh, NY, has an unknown number of senior service lines and has begun removing them through government funding, but the city needs assistance in identifying how many and where the remaining lines are and obtaining the funding needed to maintain them replace.

“The City of Newburgh’s partnership with the Environmental Policy Innovation Center is a big step in the right direction towards a lead-free water distribution system. Our commitment to the highest quality drinking water for our customers is and will remain our top priority, ”said Wayne Vradenburgh, Newburgh City Water Master.

Part of Metro Detroit that City of Highland Park, Michigan., has already replaced around 200 of the 2,600 service connections, many of which are suspected. The city has started an inventory to comply with Michigan’s Guiding and Copper Rule.

“Eliminating lead in drinking water improves the quality of life for the residents of Highland Park and makes water affordable. However, given the age of the infrastructure, a strategy needs to be implemented. The City of Highland Park is excited to partner with the Environmental Policy Innovation Center to develop strategies to meet our lead-free goal, “said Damon L. Garrett, PE, Highland Park Water Department Director.

The City of Chelsea, Massachusetts., is a suburb of Boston that has so far replaced 170 lines out of 5,000 service connections, leaving an estimated 100 or more lead lines. One of the city’s greatest needs is managing the existing data, building a broad support base, and securing the funds to replace the remaining leadlines.

“The City of Chelsea is grateful for the opportunity to work with EPIC and its partners on the Lead-Free Water Challenge. The technical knowledge that the group brings to the table will aid the City of Chelsea’s mission to remove all leading service lines from the main line to the meter. More than half of the battle on this mission is identifying locations that have not been easy to find based on records over the years. the city will benefit tremendously from this insight and technical expertise from the outside, ”said Rebecca Wright, Assistant City Engineer for the City of Chelsea.

The Hazel Crest Village, Illinois., is a suburb of Chicago with 1,105 accepted and / or likely to lead service lines that will cost approximately $ 8.8 million to $ 11 million to replace.

“Hazel Crest Village is excited to participate in the Environmental Policy Innovation Center’s Lead-Free Water Challenge. Village President Vernard L. Alsberry and our Board of Trustees know that identifying and removing senior service lines throughout the village is a priority. EPIC’s Lead-Free Water Challenge brings our community closer to that goal, ”said Dante Sawyer, Hazel Crest Village Manager.

The City of Fairmont, Minnesota., is mostly a retiree community with an unknown number of leadlines. The city needs to do an inventory to understand how many and where its leadlines are, and to get access to funding.

“The City of Fairmont, Minnesota, welcomes the opportunity to work with the Environmental Policy Innovation Center to formalize our guidance exchange program. Although we have worked informally for several years to replace senior service lines when they are discovered, we recognize the importance of taking a proactive approach to managing our aging infrastructure, ”said Doug Rainforth, Water & Wastewater Superintendent for the City of Fairmont.

“Taking actionable inventory is an important step in replacing senior service lines,” said Ian Robinson, managing director at BlueConduit. “We are excited to support communities in this program to help them get leadership up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible. Lead service lines are present in communities of all sizes, and we look forward to helping communities find their lead service lines. “

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