NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) – New London is the first municipality to have a lead pipe replacement program and the city is replacing those pies with copper ones.

It’s that distinction that landed New London Mayor Michael Passero an invite to the White House on Friday.

Mayor Passero was among the local leaders at the Accelerating Lead Pipe Replacement Summit held at the White House.

“It should be a right of every occupant of this earth and certainly of our country to have clean water,” Vice President Kamala Harris said.

Connecticut is set to receive $150 million for the replacement of lead service lines under the federal bipartisan Infrastructure Act. New London estimated 2,450 lead service lines need replacing.

The city has a total of 6,500 service lines, and historically, the lead lines are in homes built before 1986.

Even though lead paint, dust and contaminated soil cause most of the lead poisonings in the country, 20% of exposures are through drinking water.

“There is no safe level for lead, so we want to see it all removed and I think this is an excellent program and an excellent way to do it,” said Joe Lanzafame, New London Director of Public Utilities.

The project will take about three years to complete, and there will be no direct cost to the owners of the property who get the new pipes into their homes.

Most of the $36-million cost is expected to be paid with state and federal funding. 

“The remaining 20% will be covered through a low-interest 2% twenty-year loan,” Lanzafame said. 

The city says the impact on water and sewer rates which could go up would be minimal.