February 2, 2017

Contact: Sen. Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Senator Cowles introduces the Leading on Lead Act Giving Local Control to replace Lead Water Pipes

GREEN BAY- Today, in a move to help communities eliminate lead from drinking water service lines, State Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) announced the circulation of the Leading on Lead Act to give local governments the flexibility to do so. LRB-1934 provides the opportunity for a water utility to provide financial assistance for replacing the lead service lines to someone’s home.

"Lead is harmful. Not only to children and pregnant women, but to everyone. We need to get these lead-laden drinking water service lines replaced. This legislation is a step in the right direction to give our local governments the control and flexibility they need to start replacing these lead pipes," said Senator Cowles.

Financial support may be provided only if the municipality passes an ordinance to allow financial assistance and the service line for which the utility is responsible and the water main are either lead free or will be replaced at the same time as the private laterals. Local ordinances could outline additional criteria before approving the water utility’s financial assistance which may include low interest or no-interest loans, customer cost-sharing or an income threshold for qualification.

"We have this problem all over the state. Utilizing the knowledge of our local governments and water utility professionals will lend a great deal of expertise in eradicating the lead in our drinking water. I encourage my colleagues to speak with their municipal officials to discuss potential sources of lead in the drinking water of their constituents and co-sponsor this legislation for their safety and health," Cowles continued.

Currently, municipalities have very few options to assist customers to remove the lead from their water. This option can help to most cost effectively complete the lead removal process in communities all across the state. The deadline for co-sponsorship is February 10, 2017.