New national research on lead in drinking water has raised concerns regarding the potential for increased lead levels when partial lead water service lateral replacement occurs. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is advising that lead water service laterals be replaced in their entirety, because partially replacing lead service lines can increase lead levels in homes.
The DNR has allocated $14.5 million in funds for municipalities to utilize in replacing lead water service laterals. The Sheboygan Water Utility applied for the 2017 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource (WDNR) program and is receiving $335,000 to benefit customers in Sheboygan.
The WDNR determined requirements for lead water service lateral replacements, and the Utility is targeting lead service lateral replacement in four specific areas for 2017:
Schools and Licensed Daycares: Schools and licensed Daycares who have a lead water service lateral may qualify for complete lead lateral replacement under the program.
Disrupted lead water laterals: Lead water laterals may get disturbed when underground utilities are installed, replaced, or repaired. Any physical contact with or around the lateral can cause damage to it, whether through handling, moving, lifting, bending, or point load. There is growing evidence that disruption of an old lead water lateral can release particulate lead, which is not prevented by the interior phosphate coating within the lead pipe. Customers who replace a disrupted or likely to be disrupted lead water service lateral can qualify for a rebate paid directly to their prequalified plumber of up to $2,500.
Routine lead water lateral failures: Each year, a number of lead water service laterals fail and begin to leak. Through the program, customers who replace the lead lateral with a modern material, may qualify for a rebate paid directly to their prequalified plumber of up to $2,500.
Inoperable emergency shutoff valves (curb stops): From routine wear, the emergency shutoff valve on water service laterals can become inoperable. Customers who replace a lead water service lateral under this category may qualify for a rebate paid directly to their prequalified plumber of up to $2,500. A limit of three laterals may qualify per property owner.
Water main replacement project: A water main replacement project is proposed for 2017 in Broadway Avenue in Sheboygan. To adhere to local ordinance and practice, customers with lead water service laterals will be assessed the actual cost of the lead water lateral replacement from the public main to the right of way line. For customers with lead water service laterals who opt to replace the section of lateral from the right of way line into their home, the Utility will pay the prequalified plumber for the cost.
To qualify, projects must meet one of the above criteria, achieve full lead replacement, and utilize a Utility prequalified plumber. For a list of prequalified plumbers see below.
Prequalified Plumbers List (as of 3/27/2017)
For more information on the program, or to inquire if your lead lateral replacement qualifies for a rebate through the program, contact the Utility.
Source: Wisconsin DNR