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EPA announces more than $184M for Ohio Lead pipe replacement to advance safe drinking water

U.S. EPA, Press Release

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced $184,273,000 from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to help Ohio identify and replace lead service lines, preventing exposure to lead in drinking water.

 Lead can cause a range of serious health impacts, including irreversible harm to brain development in children. To protect children and families, President Biden has committed to replacing every lead pipe in the country.

The announcement, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and available through EPA’s successful Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), takes another major step to advance this work and the Administration’s commitment to environmental justice. This funding builds on the Administration’s Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan and EPA’s Get the Lead Out Initiative.

Working collaboratively, EPA and the State Revolving Funds are advancing the President’s Justice40 Initiative to ensure that 40 percent of overall benefits from certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. Lead exposure disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income families. The total funding announced through this program to date is expected to replace up to 1.7 million lead pipes nationwide, securing clean drinking water for countless families.  

“The science is clear, there is no safe level of lead exposure, and the primary source of harmful exposure in drinking water is through lead pipes,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “President Biden understands it is critical to identify and remove lead pipes as quickly as possible, and he has secured significant resources for states and territories to accelerate the permanent removal of dangerous lead pipes once and for all.”

“In my hometown of Toledo, tens of thousands of city-owned lead service lines remain in service, and approximately ten percent of customer-owned service lines contain lead,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur. “The risks posed by lead service lines disproportionally impact our most underserved communities. I am pleased to see the State of Ohio receive this much needed infusion of $184 Million funding to help ensure that all Ohioans have access to clean, healthy and safe drinking water.”

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to deliver for Ohio. Replacing lead pipes makes our communities healthier and is a key investment in environmental justice and public health. I applaud this latest funding from the Biden-Harris Administration and will continue to work with our federal and state partners to support lead pipe replacement in Northeast Ohio,” said Rep. Shontel Brown.

“This bipartisan investment is essential to make sure Ohioans are protected from any potential lead exposure, which could have long-term health consequences,” said Rep. Greg Landsman. “Children and families deserve access to clean water without concern.”  

“Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted are committed to protecting Ohio’s kids from lead exposure,” said Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel. “We welcome the US EPA’s announcement today that Ohio will receive $186 million for lead service line replacement, which will further the work of Ohio’s excellent public water systems as they continue this important work in communities across the state.”

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests a historic $15 billion to identify and replace lead service lines. The law mandates that 49 percent of funds provided through the DWSRF General Supplemental Funding and DWSRF Lead Service Line Replacement Funding must be provided as grants and forgivable loans to disadvantaged communities, a crucial investment for communities that have been underinvested in for too long.

EPA projects a national total of 9 million lead services lines across the country, based on data collected from the updated 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment. The funding announced will be provided specifically for lead service line identification and replacement and will help every state and territory fund projects to remove lead pipes and reduce exposure to lead from drinking water.  

The Lead Service Line-specific formula used to allot these funds allows states to receive financial assistance commensurate with their need as soon as possible, furthering public health protection nationwide. The formula and allotments are based on need — meaning that states with more projected lead service lines receive proportionally more funding.  

Alongside the funding announced, EPA is also releasing a new memorandum that clarifies how states can use this and other funding to most effectively reduce exposure to lead in drinking water. Additionally, EPA has developed new outreach documents to help water systems educate their customers on drinking water issues, health impacts of lead exposure, service line ownership and how customers can support the identification of potential lead service lines in their homes.

For more information, including state-by-state allotment of 2024 funding, and a breakdown of EPA’s lead Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, please visit EPA’s Drinking Water website at….

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