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Over 2,000 lead lines to be replaced in Grand Rapids this year

While the city has replaced 3,100 lead lines so far, a state mandate requires all lines to be fully replaced by 2040.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids is planning to replace 2,037 lead lines in 2023.

The process of replacing the lines began in 2017. $6 million has been budgeted each year to go toward the replacements. Previously, the expense was on homeowners.

In 2020, the program got a $5.1 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and in 2021, the State of Michigan granted $10 million to replace nearly 1,500 lines between 2023 and 2024.

While the city has replaced 3,100 lead lines so far, a state mandate requires all lines to be fully replaced by 2040. 

“The City of Grand Rapids Water System has a long history of protecting the public’s health and delivering high-quality drinking water,” said Wayne Jernberg, Water System Manager. “Lake Michigan is a stable and dependable source of drinking water for the city.”

About 40 areas can expect their lead lines to be replaced this year. City officials say additional streets may be added depending on funding. People who live along these streets will receive a notice to reach out to the Grand Rapids Water Department to begin the process. 

The lines are being replaced to avoid potential contamination of lead-free drinking water that has already been through the Lake Michigan Filtration Plant. 

“Since 1994, the City has treated the water with an orthophosphate blend to limit pipe corrosion and reduce the potential for lead in your water,” he said. “We also test the drinking water annually for lead at 50 homes throughout the city every year. The lead test results are reported on our website and have consistently been below the allowable levels set by the State of Michigan and the federal government.  We also monitor the water quality daily both at our plant and at over 40 locations in our distribution system.  We continue to meet all regulatory standards set for our water and are proud of our excellent water quality.”  

To see a map of the water lines still made of lead, click here.

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