Alderman Bohl: A better strategy is needed in dealing with lead laterals
Alderman Bohl offers food for thought on reducing lead in water and paint
“Quite frankly, I see the plan to replace lead water lines across the entire city as incredibly daunting, expensive, and not solving the problem,” Alderman Bohl said. “We are talking about an endeavor that DPW now estimates will likely cost more than a billion dollars and based upon current spending rates would take 75 to 100 years to complete.”
“With a significant risk of lead also coming from internal plumbing and other fixtures in homes – even in some newer homes – a policy focused on lead service line replacement cannot be described as ‘the fix’ to the problem,” he said. “The evidence shows that it is not.”
In the City of Madison, for example, which undertook complete lateral replacement, only 49% of the lead in the water was found to come from service lines with other sources accounting for the remaining 51%.
Lead service lines would still be replaced for day cares and emergency breaks while the city pauses other replacement and prepares a long-term strategy to holistically review all sources of lead contamination including water, paint, soil, and others.
Given its limited resources, the city cannot afford partial solutions, especially when they are comparatively far more expensive. The Alderman points to one emergency service line replacement in the city last year where the $28,000 cost could have provided 250 households with year-round lead removing water filtration. “The issue is that $28,000 doesn’t even guarantee that home won’t experience a lead water problem now or in the future,” Alderman Bohl said. “However, a properly used lead-removing water filtration system would be about 99.6% effective in its lead removing capacity at an annual cost of a little over $100 per household.”
Alderman Bohl further raises concerns that in the wash of reporting following Flint, Michigan, that lead in water has seemingly pushed the concerns over lead paint to the back burner. He said he does not dismiss the concern about lead in water which he states is “significant and in need of real and obvious attention” but raises the point that the substantial spending being pushed toward water competes against lead paint remediation efforts in the city. “It should not be an either-or scenario, and we must not lose sight of the science or demonstrated effectiveness in reviewing long term strategies for overall lead remediation efforts,” he said.
Alderman Bohl said lead paint remediation must continue and should perhaps increase, making the creation of a complete environmental lead abatement proposal all the more important.
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- EPA Requires Lead Testing for Schools, Day Cares - Danielle Kaeding - Dec 22nd, 2020
- Lead Testing Down During Pandemic - Edgar Mendez - Nov 6th, 2020
- Op Ed: Lead Poisoning and a Listening Session - Carol Diggelman and Ann Batiza - Oct 27th, 2020
- SafeHomes initiative expands lead abatement efforts for a lead-free Milwaukee - Ald. Marina Dimitrijevic - Oct 27th, 2020
- Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Efforts Expand in Wisconsin - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Oct 26th, 2020
- Green Bay Replaces Every Lead Pipe - Megan Hart - Oct 7th, 2020
- EPA Unveils New Lead Regulations - Danielle Kaeding - Oct 2nd, 2020
- Op Ed: More Water Infrastructure Funding Needed - Radhika Fox and Kevin Shafer - Jul 26th, 2020
Read more about Lead Crisis here
Recent Press Releases by Ald. Jim Bohl
Statement of Alderman Jim Bohl - May 24, 2018
Statement of Alderman Jim Bohl - January 9, 2018