EPA administers $3 billion to replace lead pipes nationwide

May 3, 2024

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is administering $3 billion to every state and territory to replace lead pipes.

The funds are administered through the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan and are a portion of $15 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) dedicated to the program.

The federal government established the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan in 2021 to help communities replace lead pipes and remove lead paint in the next decade. Primarily focusing on schools and disadvantaged communities, the plan has the commitment of more than 10 federal agencies, including the EPA and Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Almost 10 million homes, schools and businesses receive water through lead pipes, according to the White House. Low-income and minority communities are disproportionally exposed to lead in water pipes and paint.

Exposure to lead can cause irreversible health effects such as brain damage and reduced blood oxygen. This EPA award ensures that every state and U.S. territory will receive funding to assure clean drinking water and limit the adverse effects of lead poisoning.

The funding is in addition to over $50 billion from the BIL and $20 billion from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to upgrade U.S. water infrastructure, including reducing lead exposure. An estimated 1.7 million lead pipes will be replaced with the combined funding to date.

North Carolina will receive $76 million to address an estimated 300,000 lead pipes throughout the state. Wilmington, North Carolina, is one community which is using BIL funds to replace over 325 lead pipes.

Other states have used BIL funding to make a difference in reducing lead exposure. Milwaukee received $41 million, replacing lead pipes within 10 years instead of the previously estimated 60. Pittsburgh received $42 million to replace lead pipes, expected to be completed by 2026.

Photo courtesy of the Natural Resources Defense Council

Gracie Warhurst

Gracie Warhurst has joined Strategic Partnerships, Inc. as a writer and digital content creator for the new Government Market News portal. With a rich background in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Warhurst has experience as editor-in-chief of a literary magazine, assistant web editor, and project manager for an AI journalism project. She also contributed as a reporter during the development of SPI's news portal. Warhurst graduated summa cum laude in December 2023 with a Bachelor's in Journalism and a certificate in creative writing, making her a valuable asset to the SPI team.

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