861 Lead Water Pipes Remain in Green Bay. Other WI Cities Still In Crisis

In 2011 the Green Bay Water Utility (GBWU) found that the lead levels in some homes exceed the allowable limits set by the EPA [1]. It was determined that the source of the lead was service lines installed prior to 1944 as well as lead solder used until 1984 [1, 2].

  • GBWU has been working to replace lines. As of May 2018, 861 known lead service lines remain in Green Bay. [3]
  • Homeowners are responsible for the costs of replacing the portion of the service line extending from the “curb stop” into the home. This replacement, on average, costs $4800.00 [4].
  • Wisconsin DNR established a two year program which provides funding to municipalities in order to offset the costs to homeowners of replacing lead service lines. Green Bay received $500,000 in FY 17 and $300,000 in FY 18 as a part of this program [5].
  • In addition the city has spent $300,000 in Stadium Tax money to address the issue [6].

While several cities, Green Bay and Madison, have been successful in their efforts to locate and replace lead water pipes many others in our state have not. For example, Milwaukee reports that 11.6% of children have lead poisoning (national average is 3%) [7].  “The simplest answer,” according a WisContext investigation, “is that federal, state and local officials aren’t coming up with enough money to remove and replace old lead service lines.” [8] It’s rare when a public health issue can be so clearly defined and the solution be so apparent, why then are law makers unable to address it?

[1] http://gbwater.org/water-quality/general-lead-information/

[2] https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-08/documents/epa_lead_in_drinking_water_final_8.21.17.pdf

[3] http://gbwater.org/water-quality/who-is-affected-by-lead-service-lines/

[4] https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2017/05/12/city-continues-push-remove-lead-water-pipes/101518144/

[5] https://dnr.wi.gov/Aid/documents/EIF/privateLSLreplacementFundingProgram.html

[6] https://fox11online.com/news/local/green-bay/27-applications-turned-in-for-green-bays-excess-stadium-tax-money

[7] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/milwaukee-parents-concerned-lead-levels-after-troubling-report/

[8] https://www.wiscontext.org/milwaukees-long-festering-lead-problem-becomes-politically-toxic

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