There could be up to 6 million lead pipes across the country connecting homes to municipal water lines, 100,000 of which are in Wisconsin. Cities are working to replace the connections but it can be an expensive proposition at roughly $,3000 per household.
Now some lawmakers in Congress, including U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, are working on legislation to jumpstart the process with federal money.
Baldwin is one of 30 cosponsors of the True LEADership Act of 2016.
“The True LEADership Act would inject $70 billion over the next 10-year time frame into water infrastructure and lead reduction programs through loan, grant, and tax credit programs,” she explained.
Baldwin says the package is partly in response to the lead poisoning crisis facing Flint, Michigan. It would also requires states to report elevated lead levels in children and create a program so schools could help kids affected by lead poisoning. In addition, it would encourage the development of new water technologies like warning sensors or high tech filters.
Baldwin worked to include language requiring any pipes used in infrastructure replacement be American-made.
“I want to make sure that when we’re doing this robust infrastructure set of upgrades, not just the water infrastructure but any infrastructure projects, that we are using whatever tax dollars are involved to support U.S. jobs.” Baldwin said.
The package of legislation was introduced by Maryland Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin last month.