February 21, 2018

Contact: Senator Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Bill to Address Lead Laden Water Signed into Law

MADISON- Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after 2017 Senate Bill 48, named the Leading on Lead Act and authored by Senator Cowles and Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), was signed into law:

“Wisconsin has over 170,000 lead service lines, and an EPA study showed that the number of Wisconsin children poisoned by lead is higher than the national average. The Leading on Lead Act addresses the public health concerns that thousands of Wisconsin residents, especially children are faced with every day from lead laden drinking water. Exposure to lead, especially for children and pregnant women, can lead a number of negative health effects, including developmental delays, learning difficulties and birth defects. SB 48 also recognizes that a one-size fits all solution will not work for Wisconsin.

“While the scope of the problem in each community is different, the local control provided by this bill will help to remove this harmful water infrastructure while addressing one of the largest public health concerns Wisconsin families face. I want to thank all of the co-sponsors of this bill for recognizing the ability of Senate Bill 48 to help Wisconsin families.”

Communities of all sizes throughout Wisconsin have lead water service lines providing water to their citizens. The Leading on Lead Act provides a funding mechanism for communities to address lead contamination in drinking water. This bill allows a municipal government to pass an ordinance to ask the Public Service Commission for the authority to use ratepayer dollars for a low or no-interest loan or an up to 50% grant for private property owners to replace their lead service lines.