Sunday, August 14, 2022

Get the Lead Out: Replacing 3,000 lead water service Lines in Toledo

The City of Toledo’s Department of Public Utilities lead service line replacement program has a goal to replace every residential service line that contains lead in the City of Toledo. Based on the receipt of ten million dollars from the American Recovery Plan in ARPA funds, achieving the goal is finally possible.

“We estimated that there are about 3,000 private land service lines, and our goal is to replace all of them with the ten-million-dollar plan,” said Ed Moore, Toledo’s Director of Public Utilities. The ARPA funds must be expended by 2026, so the goal is to have lead service lines replaced by then.

In 2018, Moore, Toledo City Councilman Nick Komives and the Toledo Area Water Authority talked to residents about possible outcomes they would like to see in the new water deal. Although the city has been removing lead water lines for years now, it is hard to find them without the help of Toledo citizens.

Local Support
“We’ve known for years in the water industry that lead poses a significant health risk. So even though we are not under direct orders to do so [from the Ohio EPA], we thought it would be a good idea to start getting ahead of the process before it becomes mandatory from the regulatory agency,” said Moore.

Although the City commits $2 million a year in the operating budget to remove lead service lines on the public side, the effort to assist private residents with removal and replacement of the lines presents different issues. Private lines are owned property and are the responsibility of individual homeowners.

“More than anything we just need the public’s help. We need every homeowner, even if you rent, to self-test and enroll in the program so that they can this benefit free of charge. This is a benefit of over $3,000 dollars, in free money that goes into your house,” said Moore.

Taking Action
Mark Riley, who oversees the Division of Water Distribution, is soliciting bids from private contractors in the City of Toledo to perform the work. Riley and Moore plan to ensure that all ten million dollars for the program goes into the local economy and is paid to Toledo’s laborers.

Citizens can go to toledo.oh.gov\leadlines to register and to review a short video detailing the process of how to test your water line and see what type of material it is made out of. If you determine that you do have a lead line, enrollment is also available on the website.

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