Lead in drinking water is especially harmful to children. In Minnesota, 100,000 homes still have lead service lines, a major source of lead exposure.
At FMR, we believe that everyone deserves clean, safe drinking water.
Unfortunately, though lead was banned for plumbing in 1986, existing lead pipes remain a threat in Minnesota. The most effective way to limit toxic lead exposure in drinking water is to remove lead service lines and pipes connecting a home or building to the public water main. (Here's a guide on how to check the material of your home's service line.)
The Minnesota Department of Health estimates it will cost as much as $350 million to fully replace all lead service lines statewide.
That's a big expense, which is why FMR is working with our partners to fund lead service line replacement during the 2022 legislative session.
How Minnesota can fund lead service line replacement
There are three primary pots of funding available to the state to finally get rid of lead services lines for good.
1. American Rescue Plan: In Minnesota, FMR was one of 13 organizations that asked Gov. Tim Walz to recommend lawmakers allocate $15 million in American Rescue Plan COVID relief funds to ramp up lead service line inventory and replacement. Lawmakers will make a final decision during the 2022 legislative session. Securing these funds will be a priority for FMR and our conservation allies during this legislative session.
2. Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: In Washington, D.C., the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) passed the House with a 228-206 vote after clearing the Senate in August. The $1.2 trillion funding package bill will provide $15 billion in funds for lead service line replacement nationwide — a portion of which will be directed to Minnesota.
3. State budget surplus dollars: The Minnesota Management and Budget November budget forecast looked at future spending and anticipated revenues for the remainder of this budget biennium (through June 30, 2023) and projected a $7.746 billion budget surplus — a historic record.
A once-in-a-generation opportunity
The historic combination of American Rescue Plan funds, Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds and state budget dollars is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to finally get rid of Minnesota's lead service lines.
You can help!
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Check out the full slate of FMR's legislative priorities.