Madison – Governor Scott Walker announced today the city of Green Bay is the first community to complete a financial assistance agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) under a new program to replace lead service lines on qualifying private properties.
Under the agreement, which totals $500,000, the city of Green Bay Water Utility will provide full reimbursement for replacement of private-side lead service lines on 161 residential properties. The replacements will result in complete removal of the lead service line from the water main to the connection point inside the home.
“Providing safe drinking water is a high public health priority and this is another example of DNR’s efforts to work with communities on effective solutions,” Governor Walker said. “Green Bay has been working diligently through the years to remove old lead service lines, and we applaud this latest initiative to identify affected properties and develop helpful resources for property owners to get the work done.”
DNR initiated making this funding available following a decision by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow the state greater flexibility in allocating loan funds for water infrastructure projects. For state Fiscal Year 2017, the EPA has approved $14.5 million for disadvantaged municipalities to help remove old lead service lines that bring drinking water to homes.
“The DNR is proud to work with communities throughout the state to replace lead service lines,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “With the funding provided by the EPA, we’re taking significant steps to improve water quality.”
The Green Bay Water Utility has been working with property owners to remove old lead service lines. The estimated cost per line is about $3,500. As part of its effort, the city of Green Bay developed a list of prequalified plumbers for homeowners to contract with. Once the work is completed and certification is provided to the city, the city will pay the contractor directly on the homeowner’s behalf.
Some of the properties are coincident with known archaeological or historical sites. A cultural resource management firm has been retained in order to identify and assess these sites and evaluate any potential adverse impacts.
The Lead Service Line Replacement Funding program reflects DNR’s commitment to safe drinking water and addresses the financial barriers facing communities where lead service lines continue to deliver drinking water to residences, schools, and licensed day care centers. These service lines extend from the main street pipes owned by local utilities onto private property and into homes, schools, and day care centers.