Bennington, Vermont receives $11 million to extract last remaining lead water pipes
$11 million in funding will allow Bennington, Vermont to replace about 1,575 lead pipes that carry drinking water into homes.
This comes at no cost to residents, according to VTDigger. Each line will each require their own removal plans.
In response to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, federal legislators created the Water Infrastructure Fund Transfer Act. This allows states to transfer money from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
“As far as we know, this is a one-time opportunity to transfer that money,” said Megan Young, drinking water capacity program supervisor at the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. “It’s never happened before, and my understanding is there aren’t plans for that moving forward.”
The state finalized its intended use plan for the two water funds on Jul. 16, according to the Vermont Official State Website.
Construction will begin in the fall and the work is expected to take several years, reported VTDigger.
“In Vermont, an $11 million project is huge for us,” said Terisa Thomas, senior program manager of water financing at the Department of Environmental Conservation. “We needed a project that had already been in the works, so we identified Bennington as the main candidate because they had done a lead identification plan, which was a super extensive look at their system.”
Bennington officials learned in the 1970s that blood samples showed high lead levels in children.
The town now has an interactive searchable map on its website which lists the probability that a property has a lead service line. In the next few months, project leaders will begin the project by working with 140 properties in three areas of Bennington.
At all of the homes, engineers will perform an excavation, inspecting each side of the pipe for lead.
The initial phase involves water quality sampling and visual line assessments, which is largely left to residents because COVID-19. When a lead pipe is identified, the team will determine what the excavation process will look.