Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Provides Funding for Lead Service Line Replacement

Posted on October 29, 2020 by

There are an estimated 6.1 to 9.3 million lead service lines – pipes carrying drinking water – across the country. Ohio is second in the nation for lead service lines at an estimated 650,000 lead service lines carrying water to families’ homes, second only to IL. While it is unclear how much money it will really take to fully remove lead service lines in Ohio, on the low end it can run approximately $2,400 a line and on the high end approximately $7,100 a line, which could mean anywhere from $1.95 B to $4.62 B over 20 years to fully replace the lead service lines. 

Recently the Ohio EPA announced up to $20 million in grant-like funding to eligible lead service line replacement projects through the state’s Drinking Water Assistance Fund for fiscal years (July 1st – June 30th) 2021 and 2022. Communities can receive up to $1 million per a year. The funding criteria does require the replacement of both the public and private lead service line. The private service line is the line that runs generally from the curb of your house inside the house. 

Is your community taking advantage of this funding? Call your local elected officials to find out. 

As a mom I worry about my children and as a scientist and environmentalist, I probably know too much to taper my worrying. I worry about the food they are eating, about their mental and social well-being, and about what is in the water they are drinking. I worry so much, that when news of Flint, MI and then Sebring, OH’s lead-in-water crisis broke, I called their school districts’ operation manager to find out the last time they tested for lead in the school system. I also made my husband watch the documentary made about the Flint water crisis – there was a lot of anger and tension that night watching the documentary and rightfully so. 

No parent should ever have to worry if their child is unbeknownst to them being poisoned by lead. When I watched and heard stories about parents unknowingly giving their children water tainted with lead, it brought me to my knees. I saw and heard their pain and I knew the lives of these families had been changed forever. This is why I work so hard with my colleagues daily to fully remove lead service lines from communities across the Great Lakes and to make sure those unable to afford to replace their private water lead service line have access to grant funding. It is also why Freshwater Future trains community members on how to take action and protect themselves, while also working to change policies. It is why I, and my colleagues, also work with partners across the Great Lakes that deal with lead in paint, because we know we must take a one-touch approach to removing lead from houses completely. 


Author: Kristy Meyer, Freshwater Future Director of Policy


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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.