The movement to replace lead water pipes around the country

Michigan
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Since the 2015 water crisis in Flint, hundreds of places across the United States are becoming more proactive about replacing lead pipe lines.

In the U.S. up to 20% of a person’s exposure to lead can come from tap water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

An estimated 4 million U.S. households have children who are exposed to high levels of lead, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A big contributor to that risk is lead water service pipes which can leach into the water, according to the American Public Health Association.

Up to 10 million U.S. homes are served by lead service lines, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.

In Michigan, BWL crews replaced the final lead water service pipe in Lansing in December of 2016.

In 2017, Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration planned to require the replacement of every underground lead service pipe in Michigan within 20 years.

In 2018, Flint officials said they were a year ahead of schedule in tackling a court-mandated order to deal with lead service lines.

In March of this year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed a way to boost tap water quality in Michigan.

In June, the city of Detroit presented plans to put $500 million into its water and sewer systems, in what officials call the city’s first large-scale upgrade of its water infrastructure since 1930, according to NPR.

Installation of lead service lines for homes and commercial buildings in the U.S. began in the 1800s and continued into the 1920s. Most lead service lines are in cities and counties in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

More communities across the U.S. are working to replace lead service lines, sharing plans to replace more than 380,000 pipes in their water systems.

Since the contamination in Flint, the push to completely replace lead service lines has gained momentum, but the challenge for many communities and residents is paying the cost of replacement.

Governor Whitmer’s 2019 budget included 120 million dollars to address the lead contamination and 60 million for placing filtered hydration stations in schools, but her budget has not been approved.

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