City Of Galesburg Receives Preliminary Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Approval for Privately Owned Lead Water Service Line Replacement Financing

May 18, 2016 11:56 AM
The City of Galesburg today announced that the State of Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has given preliminary approval for a $4 million federally funded forgivable loan to the City to finance the removal and replacement of approximately 2,000 privately-owned lead service lines that connect properties to the Galesburg water system. These service lines, not the City’s water system itself, are the source of water-borne lead contamination in Galesburg, as well as many cities and towns nationwide. The City expects final approval from the IEPA following its review of Galesburg’s full application in the coming weeks.
The financing will enable Galesburg to expand its range of programs that address the health risk associated with lead service lines to include widespread replacement of these privately-owned facilities in addition to the use of anti-corrosive additives in City water, providing residents with informational and educational programs, free water testing, and free water filters. Galesburg has also recently funded and initiated a comprehensive corrosion control study to determine the most effective means to control corrosion of lead water service lines and fixtures. The City has been replacing lead service lines on a limited basis for years, but will now be able to do so on a much larger scale and in a much shorter three-year timeframe. Replacing all 4,700 lead service lines in Galesburg is estimated to cost over $10 million. The City will continue to examine additional financial options for replacement of lead service lines for those not able to be covered by this funding.   
Galesburg officials are developing plans to prioritize the replacement of lead service lines based on several factors, including properties that have shown higher than normal lead levels in water tests, properties where citizens with higher than normal blood lead levels reside, properties where citizens with significant financial needs reside, and possibly others. Future announcements will provide citizens with notice of the IEPA’s final funding and further details about how the service line replacement program will be implemented. In the meantime, citizens are encouraged to participate in Galesburg’s existing free programs that can verify the type of supply line a property has, test water for the presence of lead, and provide a water filter for buildings that water tests indicate have lead levels that do not meet EPA standards.
"This funding from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will assist our ongoing efforts to eradicate lead from entering any property in our city through its water service line," said John Pritchard, Mayor of Galesburg, Illinois. "Water contamination coming from lead service lines is a widespread problem in our state that contributes to the public health risk of lead poisoning, along with other sources such as decomposing lead paint. We need to continue to be vigilant in our efforts to shield citizens from lead in all of its forms. I would like to personally recognize Representative Cheri Bustos for her assistance to Galesburg in this matter and commend her broad advocacy for confronting the challenge of lead contamination at the local, state, and national level."


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