Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacements
Removing lead service lines is one way to minimize the potential for lead to get into your drinking water. The Wisconsin DNR Bureau of Drinking Water & Groundwater provides information regarding the concerns of lead in drinking water.
Funding options for lead service line replacement
Options for funding the replacement of private lead service lines (LSLs) include:
- Public Service Commission (PSC) Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacement.
- Wisconsin DNR Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) funding for replacing lead service lines under the control of the municipality.
- Wisconsin DNR Private LSL Replacement Program.
LSL PROGRAM CHANGES FOR SFY 2024
The first year of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) LSL Replacement funding will be integrated into the regular Safe Drinking Water Loan Program SFY 2024 funding cycle.
- On 5/31/2023, the Wisconsin DNR held a workshop about the BIL-funded LSL Program to discuss LSL Program details and tips that were not covered in the SFY 2024 SDWLP Draft IUP webinar and to take questions. View the LSL slide show handout.
SFY 2024 Application deadline
Submit SFY 2024 SDWLP Applications for LSL projects though the online system by June 30, 2023.
- Include the additional updated SDWLP LSL PERF (Form 8700-383)
- Complete the Environmental Review (ER) module in the online system
To help applicants through the application process, information, instructions, and guidance documents are on our Online Systems page.
SFY 2025 Intent to Apply deadline
Submit SFY 2025 SDWLP notices of Intent to Apply (ITA) with Priority Evaluation & Ranking Formula (PERF) information through the online system by October 31, 2023.
Sign up for Environmental Loans E-Bulletins to get updates about the new LSL program, BIL requirements, and related topics. The LSL Amendment to the SFY 2023 SDWLP Intended Use Plan and corresponding LSL webinar recording are available on the Project Lists and IUPs page under the SFY 2023 SDWLP heading.
Concerns about lead and partial lead service line replacements
New national research on lead in drinking water has raised concerns within DNR regarding the potential for increased lead levels when partial LSL replacement occurs. The Department is advising that municipalities replace lead service lines in their entirety – partially replacing lead service lines can increase lead levels in homes. Visit the DNR Drinking Water & Groundwater Bureau's Drinking Water & Lead Web page for more information on lead in drinking water.
Lead pipe waste management
What to do with lead pipes after they are removed from service:
The Department recommends lead pipe materials removed from water services be managed through reclamation rather than disposal. A provision in ch. NR 661.02(3)(c), Wis. Admin. Code allows for management of what would otherwise be waste scrap metal to be managed as a solid waste provided the scrap metal is reclaimed.
Municipalities are encouraged to carefully evaluate scrap dealers who might take this waste to ensure the lead pipe materials will be properly recycled. Recycled lead can be put back into use through lead-acid batteries, lead shielding and other valuable uses.
If a municipality chooses to dispose of the lead materials, it will be necessary to characterize the waste to determine whether it exhibits a hazardous characteristic for lead. Lead pipe materials would likely fail TCLP for lead and would then need to be managed as a hazardous waste. Lead pipe materials determined to be nonhazardous could be disposed of in a solid waste landfill.
For more information on waste determinations, please contact your DNR regional hazardous waste management specialist.
Service Line Inventory Guidance - Revised Lead and Copper Rule
Visit EPA’s Revised Lead and Copper Rule page for information on helping water systems comply with the January 15, 2021 Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) requirement to prepare and maintain an inventory of service line materials by October 16, 2024. The following documents can also assist public water systems (municipalities) with reporting private-side lead or galvanized service lines to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC), which is an eligibility requirement to apply for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding for lead service line (LSL) inventory work and replacements (both public and private):
- On August 4, 2022, EPA released Guidance for Developing and Maintaining a Service Line Inventory
- On June 28, 2023, EPA released Developing and Maintaining a Service Line Inventory: Small Entity Compliance Guide
Funding and Technical Resources for LSL Replacement in Small and Disadvantaged Communities
EPA's very useful publication for answering questions regarding other funding sources available for various types of projects, Funding and Technical Resources for Lead Service Line Replacement in Small and Disadvantaged Communities.
Wisconsin resource communities for LSL replacements
The document, Resource Communities for Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacements, provides contact information for municipalities with LSL projects. The municipal contacts may answer your LSL questions and provide insights into LSL difficulties, such as ordinances, small community issues, inventory, Environmental Review process, technical issues, effective customer communications, websites, and more.
Toolkit from the Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Collaborative
The LSLR Collaborative released a new toolkit for utilities, public health officials, and local leaders to tackle lead pipes in their communities. The online toolkit includes a roadmap for getting started; suggested practices to identify and remove lead service lines in a safe, equitable and cost-effective manner; policies that federal and state leaders could adopt to support local efforts; and links to additional resources that may be helpful when developing local programs.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Housing Program
The Department of Administration (DOA) CDBG Housing Program will work with qualified homeowners to assess hazards in their homes, including lead service lines. The 0% interest loan would cover the costs for addressing all hazards, not just lead lines. Repayment on the loan is deferred until the home is sold or no longer the homeowner's primary residence. Visit DOA's CDBG Housing Program for more information.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is recognizing community efforts to replace LSLs. Communities throughout the U.S. aim to replace at least 240,605* lead pipes in their water systems.
- *Estimate of the total LSLs for which communities have set a goal to replace. This number is likely an underestimate, as most communities do not know where all of the LSLs are located.
- Contact information
- For information on this topic, contact:
- Kate Leja-Brennan, lead LSL project manager, and Noah Balgooyen, SDWLP coordinator