Incentive Program Launched for Small Municipalities to Replace Their Lead Pipes

Incentive Program Launched for Small Municipalities to Replace Their Lead Pipes

Interested in Infrastructure?

Get Infrastructure articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Infrastructure + Get Alerts

The Environmental Policy Innovation Center has announced the launch of a Lead-Free Water Challenge to help incentivize small municipalities to remove and replace their lead service lines. EPIC will select five municipalities or public water systems that will receive technical assistance, connections to resources and funders, policy guidance and information-sharing through peer networks with the goal of removing all lead pipes.

EPIC encourages interested municipalities and small water systems to apply on the Lead-Free Water Challenge webpage, where they can find additional information on the program. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through June 15.

Approximately 11,000 communities across the country have lead service lines, which were largely installed a century ago even as the threat of lead in drinking water became evident. While some larger cities have successful programs to replace lead service lines, many small and under-resourced municipalities and water systems have not had the capacity to address this threat.

President Joe Biden has announced an intent to remove 100% of the estimated 6 to 10 million lead service lines across the country, but this will require more than just funding. Small municipalities and water systems face steep challenges such as a lack of specialized personnel, staff capacity, and/or financing expertise to figure out how to get started, where their pipes are, how to secure funding, and how to initiate a replacement program that is equitable for all residents.

EPIC has teamed up with Blue Conduit and other partners to deliver much-needed technical assistance to the selected municipalities. EPIC’s Lead-Free Water Challenge is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Spring Point Partners.

"Toxic lead should not be in anyone’s drinking water, but, fortunately, this problem has a relatively straightforward solution: replace all lead pipes," says Maureen Cunningham, deputy director of water at EPIC. "By launching programs in small and under-resourced communities in partnership with other experts, we hope to build momentum to make lead in drinking water a thing of the past."

Howard Crofoot, public works director for the City of Platteville, Wisconsin, says his city has worked hard to identify and remove its lead pipes. "Collaboration and teamwork have been a big part of our success, and I hope that other communities around the country are able to do the same until we replace all lead pipes in Wisconsin and the rest of the country."


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.