How the Biden Administration is Bringing Clean Water to Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. – Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Wisconsin is receiving much-needed funds to rid the state of its lead pipes. In 2022 alone, the infrastructure law will bring $142 million to Wisconsin for water infrastructure-related projects including cleaning up private and public wells and removing lead pipes in schools and homes. This funding is just the first installment of an eventual $841 million in clean water funding that the state will receive over the next five years from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
In coordination with this historic legislation, the Biden-Harris administration has released their Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan to deploy tools from every level of government to deliver clean drinking water, replace lead pipes, and remediate lead paint in our communities.
Read about how Wisconsin communities will benefit from this clean water funding:
Additional funding for lead water pipe removal is badly needed, local government leaders in Wisconsin said. They praised the infrastructure deal, saying it’s necessary to not only replace lead pipes but to address such issues as roads in need of repair, unsafe bridges, and the need for improved broadband.
“We’re very optimistic with the new infrastructure bill that there’s going to be additional funds for lead service replacement,” Eau Claire Utilities Manager Lane Berg said.
The extra funding to replace lead pipes provided by the infrastructure deal will provide that effort with a much-needed boost, said Kevin Shafer, executive director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Without those dollars, Shafer said, the city has been unable to pay for pipe replacement.
The city of Rhinelander is hoping to benefit from the law after having to take wells offline, cutting the city’s water capacity by 25 percent after finding chemicals known as PFAS, which are considered “forever chemicals” because of how long they take to break down.
“For Rhinelander, we’re looking toward the infrastructure bill to provide some necessary resources for us to restore that well capacity,” said Zach Vruwink, Rhinelander city administrator.
He added that, if the city does get funds from the new law, it would allow Rhinelander to put a well back online, relieving the strain on the water system and allowing the city to grow.
“Clean drinking water is necessary both for public health reasons but also for industrial and economic development,” Vruwink said.