CHARLOTTE, Mich. — The city of Charlotte just took a big step forward in the push to replace lead service lines in the city. It's all thanks to a grant totaling more than $350,000.
City manager Erin LaPere said under Michigan's new lead and copper rules, municipalities, and any water suppliers are mandated to identify lead or galvanized service lines and replace them.
“They have a schedule that we have to maintain, and so we have begun doing that work," LaPere said. "So, this grant is to help offset some of those costs.”
The $350,700 grant comes from the Michigan Department of Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy or EGLE.
The city originally applied for a million-dollar grant, according to public works director Amy Gilson.
“To identify about three thousand service lines in the city. We have to determine what the material is on both sides of a curb stop and inside the house. So, we applied to get money to have those done," Gilson said. "We’ve been trying to get it done on our own, and we’re not getting there, so we’re going to hire a contractor to do it.”
Gilson said since EGLE had a great response from people needing grants to get the unfunded mandate work done, they made some interim rules and based on Charlotte’s unknown lines, they’re only funding 346 instead of 3,000.
So far, 33 lines have been replaced, which cost the city $126,568.
Gilson said the city has fully completed the three-point verification for about 200 service lines that means they still have to verify about 3,000 service lines.
As for the remainder of the costs, “This is a mandate by the state that we have to comply with," LaPere said. "This is not an optional service, and so without that additional funding, it’s just more money put on the residents and the people who're paying the water bills. “
The city expects to complete all the lead service line replacements by 2025.
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