Denver Water will begin its 15 year plan to replace lead service pipes after the discovery of spiked lead levels in water.
U.S. EPA officials have decided to allow Denver Water to begin its 15 year plan to replace all lead service pipes connecting homes to water mains to begin on a trial basis.
The utility estimates 64,000 to 84,000 homes receive water through lead pipes, according to the Denver Post.
Levels of lead spiked in Denver’s water system in 2012, which triggered a series of tests that led to the replacement plan.
“We’re planning to start pulling lead service lines from the system starting around February 1,” said CEO and Manager Jim Lochhead. “And we will also be distributing filters to a little over 100,000 homes just after the first of the year.”
Denver Water will map and inventory all homes known or suspected to have lead service lines, reported the Denver Post. Areas with higher populations of children and pregnant women will be prioritized as replacement efforts push forward.
The approval of Denver Water’s plan is only good for the next three years, according to EPA spokesperson Lisa McClain-Vanderpool.
Extending approval for the remaining 12 years would entail: replacing an average of 7% of its lead service lines each year; operating a public outreach and education program; and showing reduced lead levels in drinking water, reported the Denver Post.
Failure to meet these requirements would force Denver Water to be required to inject the nutrient orthophosphate into its water system.
Denver Water will distribute new filter cartridges every six months and spot-test water in homes to confirm filters are functioning properly, according to the Denver Post.