For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – Lead water services and associated health concerns have become a hot topic in communities across the United States. Most lead services in the Marshfield Utilities (MU) territory were installed until the late 1960s. Lead pipes were used because of its pliable qualities yet it maintains strength for a long time.
Every three years MU completes water lead level testing to meet DNR and EPA requirements. Since beginning a directional flushing program, the test results have always met the requirements.
In an effort to quantify the customer lead services, MU developed a plan to identify the service pipe material while installing new AMI water meters. As a result, 225 customer lead services were identified and each of those customers were notified.
MU was awarded in total $500,000 in grant money from the DNR to use toward the replacement of the customer portion of lead service lines. Customers have the opportunity to receive up to a $3,000 reimbursement for a replacement. The average service line replacement cost is $3,500.
The grant money must be used by 2020, so it is important for customers who have been identified respond promptly to take advantage of this opportunity.
To date, 62 customers have either had their service replaced or have applied and have been approved for a service upgrade. The customer’s portion typically extends from the home to the sidewalk, while MU owns the portion of the water service from the sidewalk to the water main located under the street. As part of the grant program, MU must also replace MU’s portion of the service if lead. Each service replacement costs MU approximately $5,000, with a majority of this cost being attributed to the street repairs. MU’s cost is not eligible for any of the grant.
Customers with questions or concerns in regard to the lead service line replacement program should contact MU Water Manager John Richmond at 715-898-2170.