Recent news has increased public awareness of lead in drinking water, resulting in utilities looking for ways to manage their compliance programs and identify areas of concern in their distribution system. Data management practices can help water utilities identify services that may contain lead and take appropriate actions to manage risks. Example data sources include:
- GIS systems to identify age of pipes and services
- Assessor databases to identify properties built prior to 1940
- Service card records with material type
- Meter replacement databases where the service material was identified
After completing an inventory to determine locations that may contain lead service lines, it is important to develop a strategy for removing these services from the building to the water main, both on public and private property. Complete service line replacement is key to minimizing lead exposure potential. The average estimated cost to replace a service line is between $3,000 and $5,000. Historically, funding for these projects has been challenging.
As you may have heard, the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority announced $100 million in funding to help member communities fully replace lead service lines. The zero-interest loan program allows municipalities to create their own program to fully remove lead service lines. Information on this program can be found at: http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/comsupport/llp/llpprogram.html. Additional funding information can be found at: http://www.lslr-collaborative.org/funding.html.
Weston & Sampson has helped water utilities with programs to identify and replace lead service lines. If you would like more information on how system asset data can be leveraged to identify high risk homes/buildings please contact Margaret McCarthy, PE at email@example.com or (978) 532-1900.