Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Englewood aims to get the lead out of infrastructure – Englewood Herald

Must read

In a proactive measure to enhance public health and meet federal regulatory deadlines, the City of Englewood has launched a significant initiative to eliminate lead pipes from its water infrastructure. 

Deputy Utilities Director Sarah Stone said the initiative, which began this summer, aims to remove as many lead or galvanized steel pipes as possible in less than five years. It includes the replacement of service lines running from water mains into residents’ homes, with no charge to the property owner for the replacement work.

“Lead removal in water systems is a priority of the federal government, as exposure to lead in drinking water is known to cause serious health effects,” Stone said. “Englewood Utilities is being proactive in prioritizing the safety and health of its customers while securing available funding to remove all the lead service lines in the water system ahead of regulatory deadlines set by the (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.)” 

Stone said with $40 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 and the Colorado Drinking Water Revolving Fund, including a $10 million grant and $30 million in low-cost loans, the program will remove as much lead and galvanized steel as possible. 

“The current estimate is up to 3,000 service lines that may be lead or galvanized steel,” Stone said. “The program has collected utility records, parcel records and construction data to develop a statistical analysis model and predict material of service lines around the service area.”

She explained these areas are designated by the “Assumed Lead” and “Assumed Non-Lead” categories on the service line inventory, which can be viewed at arcgis.com. 

“Currently, the contractor is physically verifying the service line material of all properties with a parcel construction year prior to 1960,” Stone said.  “The service line material will be verified through two small mechanical excavations, called potholes, performed on the utility-owned and customer-owned portions of the service line.” 

About 110 lines have been identified so far as lead or galvanized steel and about 300 service lines to be copper, Stone said. 

Before Englewood Utilities schedules the replacement of a lead or galvanized steel pipe the contractor will perform a “service line material verification where two small mechanical excavations, called potholes, will be performed to verify the service line material.” 

“If the service line is found to be lead or galvanized steel, the customer will be notified and further communications will continue until the replacement,” Stone said. “This includes an on-site visit with the contractor and an Englewood Utilities representative to confirm receipt of the Customer Acknowledgement Form, visually inspect the water service line connection inside the property and walk customers through the replacement process.”  

Additionally, she said Englewood Utilities will manage the replacement process, which can take about six to eight hours per property.  

“The Lead Reduction Program will fund the entire cost of a service line replacement,” Stone said. “There could be specific circumstances of restoration after replacement that are the responsibility of the homeowner, such as maintenance of newly replaced sod.”

Stone said people can view the full line inventory online at bit.ly/lead-inventory, which is often updated. 

“A customer can search their address and see their current service line material designation,” she said. 

For more information on the project reach out to lead@englewoodco.gov.

Latest article