Grand Rapids Funds Lead Water Line Replacement

The updated policy coincides with a plan to establish tougher lead and copper standards

Grand Rapids establishes new lead pipe replacement policy

The City of Grand Rapids, Mich., changed its policy to now cover the entire cost of replacing lead water lines. Previously, the city would pay for the lines underneath city property, but private landowners—such as homeowners and businesses—would have to pay for their portion of the repairs.

 Grand Rapids new policy coincides with a plan backed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to establish tougher standards for lead and copper. While the plan is still being drafted, Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) wants to lower the level of acceptable lead in tap water from 15 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion. Additionally, the MDEQ wants to increase the number and frequency of water samples a city must take.

Already this year, the City of Grand Rapids has replaced 100 lead service lines through water main projects and 130 lines through emergency repairs. The city has been compiling a database of both publicly and privately owned lead service lines by combing through records. So far the city estimates that about 18,000 to 20,000 of the publicly owned water lines in Grand Rapids are made of lead out of 64,000.

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