Community group urging faster replacement of lead water pipes

NOW: Community group urging faster replacement of lead water pipes

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee community group wants to ensure the city continues removing potentially dangerous lead pipes from the water system. They held a makeshift news briefing at City Hall Friday afternoon.

Robert Miranda is the spokesperson for the Get the Lead Out Coalition. He said, "We're asking the city to step up its process, and begin what it needs to do to meet the goal it set for itself in order to remove these pipes immediately."

About a dozen people from the coalition gathered to urge city administrators and the Water Works to ramp up efforts to replace aging lead pipes.

Since work began in 2017, more than 5500 service lines have been replaced. The city estimates it will cost $750 million to replace the 66,000 active residential lead service lines.

But the coalition says it's not happening fast enough. Miranda said, "The issue for us is urgency. Urgency. The urgency, we feel, is not there."

According to the EPA, there is no safe level of lead in the body.

We reached out to Milwaukee Water Works for a response to the coalition.

They told us in a statement "Residents who are concerned about lead in their water should flush their tap for 2-3 minutes every morning, or after water has been sitting still in their service line for more than 8 hours, to bring in fresh water from the main."

Three times a year, the city mails out important information to residents who have lead water service lines.

The average total cost to replace a lead service line is about $9,600. Property owners are responsible for $1592 of that, paid out over 10 years.

Robert Penner, also of the Get the Lead Out Coalition, said, "Why is the onus for paying for replacements at all on the property owner? Why is this not fully the city's responsibility?"

The city's Water Works plans on hosting another round of informational meetings soon.

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