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MADISON — Governor Scott Walker announced today that the City of Milwaukee has finalized a financial assistance agreement for FY18 that will provide the City with an additional $4 million dollars to assist homeowners, schools and daycares with the replacement of old lead service lines.

“By awarding $4 million to help remove lead pipes, on top of $2.6 million last year, we are helping the City of Milwaukee provide clean water to kids and families,” said Governor Walker. “It is critical that we continue to remove lead pipes throughout our state to ensure our communities are healthy.” 

It is estimated that at least 500 lead service lines will be replaced utilizing the funds available under this agreement. Another 360 residential lead service lines and 103 lead service lines serving daycares were due to be replaced when the City of Milwaukee was awarded $2.6 million in similar funding last fiscal year.

These replacements, from the watermain to the connection point inside the home, will be done in conjunction with the city’s annual street reconstruction projects, as well as by spot replacement in areas where the public side of the service line has already been replaced or when emergency repairs are needed. 

Property owners are typically responsible for these older and aging lines that deliver drinking water from the municipalities main line to homes, schools and daycares. Usually, they would have to pay full price for removing those lines. This funding source lifts some of that financial burden from property owners.

Under an ordinance recently passed by the City of Milwaukee, homeowners will be required to pay one third of the average replacement cost up to a maximum of $1,600. Daycare replacements will be covered 100% by the city. Homeowner payments will continue to revolve to fund additional private lead service line replacements until all private LSLs in the City have been replaced. 

More than $26 million has been awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) statewide in a two-year effort to replace lead service lines at homes, schools, and daycare facilities in 42 Wisconsin municipalities.

The DNR conceived the funding program in 2016 following a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allow the state greater flexibility in allocating loan funds for water infrastructure projects. Under the program, municipalities determine how to distribute the funds. Funding for LSL replacement on private property is in the form of Principal Forgiveness (PF), which means no debt is incurred on behalf of the municipality for these funds.