Jul 02, 2019

Denver Water Proposes Replacing Lead Pipe System

New proposal aims to reduce lead exposure in plumbing and service lines

New proposal aims to reduce lead exposure in plumbing and service lines

Denver Water announced a proposal to replace the city’s old lead pipes that connect 90,000 homes to the city’s main waterline. According to CPR News, the agency would like to replace the lead pipes with copper lines for the next 15 years. The environmentalist approved plan would cost more than $500 million. If approved, the plan also would provide free at-home filters for residents with lead service lines.

“Cost is not an issue. Public health is the issue,” said Jim Lochhead, Denver Water CEO in an interview, according to The Denver Post.

The new proposal is to reduce potential lead exposure from household plumbing and service lines containing lead, according to The Denver Channel. Water quality monitoring from 2012 showed levels in Denver’s plumbing was above U.S. EPA requirements. 

Orthophosphate was added to the water to reduce levels of lead and copper in 2018, at the request of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. According to The Denver Channel, Denver Water will propose an alternative method to replace service lines and increase the water’s pH level. 

If the plan is approved, Lochhead said the utility would “issue tens of thousands of water filters to affected homes; make further adjustments to water chemistry, increasing the pH value from 7.8 to 8.8; and replace all lead lines in all areas served by Denver Water.” According to The Denver Channel, this plan will have to go through the EPA approval process and the agency plans to undergo more testing before finalizing it’s proposal. 

The cost will be covered by cost sharing with other entities, federal grants and loans, Lochhead said, according to CPR News. There also may be a possible increase to water fees of around 1 to 2%. For more information on the proposal, head to Denver Water’s website.