LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville Water Company prematurely completed its decade-long $ 50 million project to replace lead service lines. And now that every city service line is lead-free and is being replaced with copper tubing, the company is offering homeowners the option of replacing private lines that may still contain lead.
“Your drinking water does not contain lead when it leaves the Louisville water treatment facility,” said Kelley Dearing Smith, director of communications at LWC. “But there is a risk that lead will get into the water if it flows through pipelines that may be made of lead.”
When LWC began providing water services to Louisville, the crews installed plumbing. This mainly happened between 1860 and 1936.
“Lead was very common in the 19th century,” said Dearing Smith. “When we started, this was the material of choice.” We certainly didn’t know about the public health problems we know today. “
Since the 1970s, when LWC repaired a broken water line, all lead service lines were removed and replaced with copper. In 1990 the department started the official exchange program with the aim of replacing all 74,000 supply lines with copper pipes by 2025.
The department started block by block, street by street. In recent years, LWC has stepped up work to end it early. Louisville is now one of the few cities in the nation to have replaced all of the city-owned service lines.
The next step for LWC is to help homeowners replace their own plumbing, which may still be made of lead.
“We don’t see much lead on the private property,” said Dearing Smith. “We believe there are probably several thousand homes in Louisville with senior service lines. But we know at least 800. And these customers are already receiving letters from us. “
It is rare for a home built after 1950 to have lead plumbing or lead plumbing fixtures. However, it is possible that older homes have lead pipes. Dearing Smith said the best way to find out is to hire a plumber to check it out.
If you have guidelines, Dearing Smith said you should get a quote from the plumber and then call LWC. The company plans to pay half the cost of replacing these lines, up to $ 1,500. And if you can’t afford half the cost, funding is available through the Louisville Water Foundation for those who qualify.
Louisville Water will be sending letters out over the next few weeks to contact the 800 homeowners with suspected line lines.
“And they won’t hear from us just once,” said Dearing Smith. “We’ll keep contacting them because we really want to get rid of the lead.”
Because LWC doesn’t know exactly which homes may or may not have lead plumbing, scientists are taking extra precautions to balance the water chemistry in the plants so that lead is less likely to be ingested when it gets into your home. If you are concerned about the quality of your water, the Louisville Water Company will test it for free. Contact the department for instructions on how to collect a sample for the laboratory.
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