Milwaukee – The City of Milwaukee Water Works has issued a letter to property owners of homes built before 1951, alerting home owners of the fact that their homes most likely have lead lateral pipes which could contaminate the water flowing into their home with lead.
The City says that all federal guide lines for safe water are being met, however, “lead can enter water as a result of the wearing away of materials containing lead in service lines or internal plumbing.”
City water works officials say that lead spikes have been detected because of “physical disturbance of the piping, such as water main replacement, main breaks, or service line leaks.”
Recent reports have put the number of homes in Milwaukee to still have lead lateral pipes at 70,000.
To prevent lead from leaching into the water the City of Milwaukee states that it has treated water with a compound “that forms a protective coating inside pipes to control lead dissolving in the water.”
The city has come under fire as of late for not addressing the removal of lead lateral pipes from the 70,000 home sooner. “The city has demonstrated neglect in this matter”, said Robert Miranda, editor of the WiSconsin Spanish Journal.
Aside from the city treating the water, Milwaukee officials informed residents that they should flush the water in home plumbing systems for a minimum of 3 minutes or longer if necessary before using water for drinking or cooking.
The flushing is being recommended because lead tends to build up in lead pipes after water has been sitting in the pipes for 6 hours or more.
The cost of replacing the lead laterals is estimated to be between $511 million and $756 million. The city water works’ share is estimated at $266 million.
Miranda states he’s been pressing city officials to begin the process of organizing a comprehensive strategic plan aimed at removing the lead lateral pipes.
“Testing the water and flushing it from the pipes is simply not going to cut it. A real plan to remove these pipes needs to be set in place so this hazard is removed from our homes”, said Miranda.