May 28, 2020

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

Kaukauna Joins Green Bay with an Approved  Plan to Reduce Lead-Laden Water 

KAUKAUNA– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) unanimously approved a Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacement Program plan for Kaukauna Utilities. This program is made possible through 2017 Wisconsin Act 137, known as the Leading on Lead Act, authored by Senator Cowles and Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac):

“With tens of thousands of lead laterals scattered in communities throughout the state, local action is pivotal to address the prominent public health concern of lead poisoning, which can cause significant harm to children’s physical and mental development and cause health complications in adults as well. The Leading on Lead Act has shown itself to be a functional tool to achieve the ultimate goal of reducing lead-laden water while providing the flexibility needed to address the varying scope of the issue in each community.

“After the approval of Green Bay Water’s LSL Replacement plan last week, I’m very proud to see another community in the 2nd Senate District successfully pursue a plan that doesn’t just help residents with lead laterals, but benefits the entire community as public health improves, creating long-term economic savings, and long-term costs to the utility also may decrease. Kaukauna is achieving this positive progress without putting the burden on residents through rate increases by creating a loan program.

“I applaud the PSC Commissioners for their approval of this plan, and I want to thank the dedicated men and women at Kaukauna Utilities, led by Jeff Feldt and Kevin Obiala, for their continued efforts to provide cleaner water to everyone in their service territory.”

The Leading on Lead Act provides an innovative funding mechanism to address the problem of lead-laden water by allowing municipal governments to pass an ordinance to ask the PSC 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 LSLs.

Kaukauna now joins Green Bay, Kenosha, Manitowoc, and Menasha as communities with approved Lead Service Line Replacement Program plans. Three other communities have active dockets seeking approval of plans, including Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, and Sun Prairie, and more are exploring this option.

Kaukauna Utilities estimated that approximately 24.1% of the system’s customer-side service lines are made of lead. This includes 876 customer-side LSLs that are connected to a utility-side LSL, and 645 private lead laterals that are not connected to a lead utility-side lateral.