Jun 02, 2021

Illinois Senate Passes Lead Service Line Notification & Replacement Act

The Illinois Senate passed a bill to require water utilities to replace lead service lines.

lead service line replacement

The Illinois Senate passed a bill to require water utilities to replace lead service lines.

House Bill 3739, known as the Lead Service Line Notification and Replacement Act, would require all water utilities to compile an inventory of all known lead water service lines and submit a plan for removal and replacement of the lines to the Illinois EPA, reported The Illinois Newsroom.

Illinois has more than 636,000 lead service lines still in operation, according to data from the Metropolitan Planning Council.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the bill is set to be signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker and includes: 

  • Mandating full lead service line replacement;
  • Banning partial lead service line replacement;
  • Requiring water systems to submit an initial service line materials inventory to the state by Apr. 15, 2023 and a final complete inventory by Apr. 15, 2024;
  • Creating the Lead Service Line Replacement Fund;
  • Creating the Lead Service Line Replacement Advisory Board and more.

Water utilities would be required to submit an initial plan for lead service line replacement by Apr. 15, 2024 with a final plan due to IEPA by Apr. 15, 2027, reported The Illinois Newsroom. A total of more than $45 billion in proposed funding for lead service line replacement is moving through Congress, along with other  funding made available through the federal coronavirus relief packages.

The bill allows water utilities to apply for extensions to the deadlines and establish a state-run grant program to assist in reducing the costs of lead line replacement.

Illinois is prepared to receive federal funding to assist in minimizing the cost of lead service line removal, which is estimated to cost near $5 billion, according to chief Senate sponsor Melinda Bush, reported Illinois Newsroom.

Bush also added the state would continue to explore ways to support smaller communities by setting up grant and support programs through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. According to Sen. Sue Rezin, there are still concerns these areas that may not get the federal financial support for the work.

“I have some very serious reservations for many of the smaller communities that many people in this chamber represent,” said Rezin, reported HOI ABC News. “Anytime we change standards that force small communities to make huge investments to change to come into compliance with it costs a lot of money. And these small communities do not have or cannot afford to replace the systems.”

According to Bush, she will work with Rezin when the Illinois EPA makes rules and eligibility for the grant program to ensure smaller communities receive appropriate funding.

The bill passed the Senate 46-10 and will head back to the House.

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