Milwaukee lead pipe replacement, city gets $41M in federal funds

MILWAUKEE - There are millions of lead water service lines across the country, and Milwaukee's got more than 60,000 of them.

The Biden Administration announced it's sending $41 million to the city to help, but it's still going to take some time, and money, to replace them.

The property on N. 6th Street is just one of many in the city that has a lead service line. Crews, right now, are working to replace it. The announcement of that new money from the Biden administration is going to help the city get those lead service lines replaced faster and also help with the budget.

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Another day, another installation of a new water service line.

"We got to pull that copper to the other hole now," said Tony Walton, Hero Plumbing foreman.

On this job, it involves threading a copper pipe from a home more than 140 feet to the water main.

And this is just one lead service line. The city hopes to replace around 2,200 in 2024, but there are more than 60,000 in Milwaukee.

Talk about job security.

"It’s the same stuff. It’s repetitious," said Walton.

But for Tony Walton and his crew, they know the importance of the work they do every day.

"This is real important for the community, health-wise, in general," added Walton.

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<div>Replacing lead service lines in Milwaukee</div>
Replacing lead service lines in Milwaukee

"Part of the challenge is the workforce. The other part of it is funding," said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

The $41 million is coming to Milwaukee, out of $83 million to the state.

It's part of the Biden Administration's commitment to replace every lead pipe in the country in ten years.

The city says it still faces financial challenges, even after Act 12 helped create better budget certainty.

<div>FOX6's Bill Miston interview Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson.</div>
FOX6's Bill Miston interview Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

But the federal dollars help, without tapping into funding for other city services.

"It will put us in a better position, where we can more adequately address that issue," added Johnson.

Back on 6th street, Walton says his crew tries to get each job done in about six hours, and then move on to the next one.

"For the most part, we’re trying to rock and roll," added Walton.

For more information on Milwaukee's efforts to replace lead service lines, click here.