HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to tighten rules for allowable levels of lead in drinking water while the Biden Administration is looking to replace the country’s lead lines using new funds.
The EPA announced an initial investment of $2.9 billion dollars.
Mayor Karen Majewski of Hamtramck said they are doing the best they can to switch out all the city’s lead service lines.
“We’ve got almost 6,000 of them in Hamtramck that need to be replaced,” said Majewski.
She said the city has already switched out close to 450 over the last several months and that it takes about $10,000 to replace a lead service line.
“We’re talking about almost $60 million to replace those lead pipes. And of course, Hamtramck is a city with a $15 to $17 million yearly budget,” Majewski said.
Then in October, six out of 42 home samples had high levels of lead so the process was accelerated. She said the announcement of the investment brings hope for assistance.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell who has been on the front end of efforts in the house to get this funding agreed but said this is just the beginning.
“Experts predict or forecast that we need $1.6 billion just replaced the pipes in Michigan. The money over several years for Michigan in the infrastructure bill is $1.3 billion. The additional dollars are in Bill Back Better, which hopefully we’re still going to pass,” Dingell said.
Allocating money is only part of the battle, she said working out details are the next priority.
“I want to understand how this money is coming in, how every community applies for it?” said Dingell.
Read: Complete lead coverage