Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Wisconsin Helps Owners Afford Lead Service Line Replacement

lead poisoning prevention

Last week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill that removes a longstanding obstacle in the way of replacing the 240,000 lead service lines in the state. The bill, SB-48, allows municipalities and water utilities to provide financial assistance to residents to replace lead service lines on private property.

Prior to the legislation, remediating lead service lines was a complicated issue. Lead service lines are usually under split-ownership with the resident responsible for the portion on their property, and the city responsible for the main line. Some states prohibit the use of rate funds to replace lead service lines on private property, meaning the cost of remediation falls on property owners.

Lead poisoning crises seen in cities such as Flint, Michigan and Washington, DC highlight the importance of replacing lead service lines. Old lead pipes can leech lead particles into water and be ingested. Because lead poisoning is cumulative, years of low level exposure can be extremely dangerous and cause blood, bone and cognitive disorders.

Wisconsin is now one of 12 states with a lead service line replacement program. Utilities are now permitted to use rates paid by customers to replace lead service lines. Residents can receive up to half of the total cost to remediate lead service lines. SB-48 stipulates that the financial assistance is only applicable to residents who have received an ordinance from the city requiring the replacement, but it is a major first step.

"The health and safety of Wisconsin families is our top priority. Replacing lead service lines is vital to protecting Wisconsin residents from the dangers of lead in our drinking water," Governor Scott Walker said in a recent press release.

To learn more about SB-48 and Wisconsin's efforts to address lead poisoning, visit the Environmental Defense Fund's website. To learn more about lead abatement and how to get involved in this expanding field, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage. Zack Academy offers a variety of lead certification courses nationwide.

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