Drinking water safety: Conn. to receive billions of dollars to remove, replace lead service lines

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – President Joe Biden is expected to sign the massive federal infrastructure bill Monday. A key part of the bill will focus on upgrading old water systems to provide clean water, but what does that entail? 

We know lead can be harmful if it gets in a water supply. We saw that first hand in cities like Flint, Michigan, but you may not know that 43,000 pipes contain lead in Connecticut. 

The infrastructure plan sets aside millions to deal with it. 

State and local health leaders joined Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin Monday, hours before Biden was slated to sign the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan. 

The bipartisan bill will provide $500 million in grants and $15 billion in loans to the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the state’s water systems to help remove and replace lead service lines that connect homes to public drinking water supplies. 

Public water systems service 2.8 million people in Connecticut.

“[The infrastructure bill] will provide so many public water systems an opportunity to apply for these funds to be able to help combat things like lead that we know exist, other contaminants like PFAS that people know about, things we don’t even know about that might emerge over time,” Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health Dr. Manisha Juthani said.

“We’re here to educate people about this danger as to proclaim the accomplishment,” Blumenthal said. “People should know, they should ask, they should be aware that lead pipes are at their homes linking them to water supplies.”

Replacing a lead pipe service line is the homeowner’s responsibility, but it can cost several thousand dollars. Officials said it’s an issue that impacts big cities like Hartford more than others. 

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