Concerns over drinking water contamination from lead pipes have grown exponentially since the crisis in Flint, Michigan highlighted the issue for public and water utilities around the U.S.
In December 2016, Milwaukee, Wisconsin approved a plan for Milwaukee Water Works to begin replacing full lengths of all of its existing 68,300 residential lead service lines (LSL). Milwaukee Water Works estimates the cost of replacing all of the city’s LSLs at between US$511 million and US$756 million.
While LSL replacement has historically been a local issue, the crisis in Flint has compelled the federal and California state governments to take some action. Bluefield water experts analyze the impact of Flint on lead pipe replacements in other cities.
- Utilities take on lead burden hampered by privately owned service line complications.
- Federal and state governments step in to provide relief.
- Pending regulatory changes prompt movement on lead pipe replacement.