Getting the lead out in Two Rivers' water system

TWO RIVERS, Wis. (WFRV) - City leaders in Two Rivers are working to get the lead out of their water system for good. The community is drafting an ordinance - that mandates lead water line removal - whenever a water main is replaced.

At the Two Rivers Water Utility - lead water lines removed from service. Yet city leaders know in this lakeshore community, there remain so many more - still carrying water into homes. 

“Fifty-six hundred services in the city of Two Rivers and 2,400 of them are lead,” said Water Utility Director Ross Blaha.

“It's indicative of old communities,” said City Manager Greg Buckley.

While Two Rivers has long controlled lead levels in water using chemicals, Buckley says the Flint water crisis has prompted many communities to try and remove lead, once and for all.  In Two Rivers a plan it being proposed.

“We think it’s quite appropriate to be getting the lead out in the system, at least up until the meter where it enters the home,” Buckley said.

Under an ordinance anytime the city replaces a water main, property owners connected to the main would have to pay the cost to replace the water line entering their homes - if made of lead, steel, or copper.

“What this policy and ordinance would do is establish the responsibility for replacement of the private portion of the lateral,” said Buckley.

Thanks to a state grant - Doris Eurich and other property owners on Lincoln Avenue will only have to pay a portion of the costs to replace their water lines this spring.

“At my age it doesn't make much difference,” Eurich said. “But the future generations, the kids that live in this area, it impacts them.” 

“We need to step it up, not just here but all across the country,” Buckley said.

The idea is expected to be approved by the Two Rivers City Council in the weeks ahead.  Buckley says it's the only way to guarantee the toxic metal is gone for good.

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