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City to use federal dollars to find underground water pipes with lead

Water in a sink (Devin Trubey/WICS)
Water in a sink (Devin Trubey/WICS)
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The city of Springfield got $1 million in federal pandemic funds to help identify if your water lines contain lead.

It's part of an ongoing effort to modernize the city's water pipes.

Replacing all the lead pipes in Springfield is expected to take many years and cost upwards of $55 million.

That federal money, which comes from the American Rescue Plan, will help the city determine which pipes to dig up.

Historical records show there could be as many as 10,500 lead service lines in the city, but that's the high estimate.

CWLP says they plan to find out what's lead and what's not using that million dollar fund.

They'll use what's called a vacuum excavator to test the lines to see if they really do contain lead, which will help focus the replacement efforts.

"It allows us to fine tune our inventory," said water division manager Todd LaFountain. "We think that there's probably only about 8,000 of those are actually truly lead service lines."

CWLP is currently in phase two of the replacement program, where they'll replace 600 lead service lines over the next two years.

Back in august, Gov. Pritzker signed off on a law requiring full replacement of lead water pipes.

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Each city's timeline on replacing those pipes will depend on how many they have laying underground.

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